French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen has launched her election bid with a pledge that she is the only presidential candidate that can protect France from “Islamic fundamentalism,” globalization, and the EU.
“What is at stake in this election ... is whether France can still be a free nation," said Le Pen at a major camping rally held in Lyon on Sunday.
"The divide is not between the left and right any more but between patriots and globalists," she added.
Bolstered by the election of US President Donald Trump and the UK’s Brexit vote, Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front (FN) is aiming for similar results in France.
"Financial globalization and Islamist globalization are helping each other out ... Those two ideologies want to bring France to its knees," she added.
She added that Islamic prayer and the veil worn by Muslim women were threats to France’s culture and values and that “no French person, no Republican and no women” would accept them.
Le Pen noted that if she is elected as president, mosques and places of Islamic teaching will be closed down. Her party has also vowed to hold a referendum on France’s EU membership.
Immigration and religious extremism have been steady subjects for Le Pen’s party with focus on the terrorist attacks which have targeted the country over the past few years.
Polls show that the she will gain enough votes to reach the second runoff but will lose to a mainstream candidate at that stage.