A French journalist has been forcibly removed from an event in Paris after attempting to ask National Front leader Marine Le Pen a probing question over claims she misused European Parliament funds to pay her bodyguard’s salary.
Paul Larrouturou, a journalist for daily current affairs show Quotidien which is broadcast on the TMC channel (part of prominent media group TF1), was filmed being ejected from the Palais des Congrès yesterday by two security guards who pushed him out the door.
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Before his violent removal, Larrouturou could be seen in the media scrum around right-wing presidential candidate Le Pen. After saying hello, he asked her: “Was your bodyguard really your parliamentary assistant or…” but was seemingly grabbed from behind before finishing the question.
— Quotidien (@Qofficiel) February 1, 2017
After he was thrown out, Larrouturou returned and, with his cameraman still filming, confronted the two men with his press accreditation in hand, and told them: “I am accredited here. You cannot stop me asking a question of Madame Le Pen,” and asked for an “immediate” apology.
The two men then pushed him out the door a second time. As they retured, someone, presumed to be Larrouturou, called out an insult which saw the journalist and his cameraman incur further acts of aggression from the two men.
The National Front told French newspaper Le Parisien that it did not take responsibility for the actions of the security guards, saying: “It’s not us. There were no instructions [from us]. We don’t run the Palais.”
The men who removed the journalist are understood to have been working for event organisers the Salon Des Entrepreneurs, which puts on business exhibitions across France’s biggest cities.
In a statement they said: “There was a surge in the crowd… he [Larrouturou] pushed and we asked him to leave. There was a risk.”
The Parisien claims that it is publicly known that the National Front in France consistently refuses to accredit journalists from Quotidien.
In a video of the incident posted by the official Quotidien Twitter handle a spokesperson for the programme said: “We simply wished to know if Marine Le Pen’s bodyguard had a fictitious role at the European Parliament or not.”