Joan of Arc adopted as patron saint of Le Pen's radical National Front
St Joan of Arc has been taken up as a symbol by France's far-right, with Presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen pausing during his traditional May Day march yesterday to lay a bouquet at the base of a gilded statue of the French heroine.
An attached message read: "France is with you, Joan."
To Le Pen's anti-immigration National Front, the peasant girl-turned-warrior is a heroine for her quest to chase the invaders out of France.
The anti-immigrant politician has been known to use Joan of Arc's often quoted battle cry, "God will give us victory!" to rouse his supporters in their mission against immigration, globalisation and the European Union (news - web sites).
Le Pen, who has been convicted numerous times for racism and anti-Semitism, blames the country's unemployment and rising crime on immigrants.
At Le Pen's May Day march, which drew more than 10,000 people, supporter Maurice Dumontot called the politician "the Joan of Arc of modern times."
In the late 19th century, when Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus was framed and sentenced to life imprisonment for treason, the extreme right claimed Joan of Arc's image as a symbol of French racial superiority.
The "child of the people" came to symbolise the French peasants' fight against the outside world, which during the Dreyfus Affair meant Jews taking up roles in the army and the courts.
Joan of Arc Archive
The Messenger (multimedia story of St Joan of Arc)
2 May 2002