Le Pen rounds on protesters from cathedral as Sunday’s French election nears

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the French presidential elections, far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has taken to Twitter to accuse the supporters of her rival centrist Emmanuel Macron of “violence” and disrespecting a sacred cathedral.

Le Pen made a surprise visit to Reims Cathedral of the last day of campaigning ahead of Sunday’s presidential run off. But protesters gave her a hostile reception.

“Monsieur Macron’s supporters act with violence everywhere, even in … a symbolic and sacred place. No dignity,” Le Pen wrote.

Television images showed Le Pen leaving the cathedral via an unmarked door, putting her arms over her head to protect herself and diving into a black car as a small crowd gathered around, shouting epithets. The car quickly sped away.

1:55 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister says that the future of the European “project of peace” is at stake in France’s presidential election. Germany and France have traditionally been the motor of European Union integration, and German officials have made clear that they favor centrist Emmanuel Macron over his anti-EU opponent Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s runoff vote.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement Friday that it’s important to “win back the hearts of young people all over our continent for the future of Europe.” He added that “the future of our European project of peace is also up for election in France the day after tomorrow.”


1:45 p.m.

The German government says outgoing French President Francois Hollande will hold a final meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday, a day after his successor is elected.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that Hollande, whose term ends May 14, will have dinner with Merkel at the chancellery.

Seibert said the chancellor will thank Hollande for five years of close cooperation, “for a good chapter in German-French friendship, for the very intensive cooperation on various themes” such as the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

German officials have made no secret of their hopes that centrist Emmanuel Macron will beat far-right contender Marine Le Pen in Sunday’s presidential runoff vote. Seibert said that the German government will “very quickly” be in contact with the winner.


1:30 p.m.

Paris police say 12 people have been arrested after environmental activists breached the Eiffel Tower’s security, hung a protest sign and rappelled down.

The Greenpeace activists converged on the tower around 5 a.m. and managed to keep the banner, emblazoned with the French motto of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” on display for around 45 minutes.

Six of them rappelled from the tower’s archway beneath the banner.

The protest against Marine Le Pen, the far-right presidential candidate, came just two days before France’s electio