France: Far-right leader pays tribute to anti-gay historian who shot himself dead over equal marriage

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Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right Front National (FN), has paid tribute to writer and historian Dominique Venner who shot himself dead after denouncing equal marriage and immigration in a blog post.

Dominique Venner, 78, shot himself dead on Monday in front of hundreds of tourists at the altar of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in protest at the introduction of equal marriage in France.

He had urged people earlier in the day to join a rally against equal marriage on 26 May and wrote on his website that it would “take a new gesture spectacular and symbolic, to shake up the anaesthetised consciousness”.

On Wednesday, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Mr Venner had sought to “wake up the people of France”.

“All respect to Dominique Venner whose final, eminently political act was to try to wake up the people of France,” Ms Le Pen wrote on Twitter.

“It is in life and hope that France will renew and save itself,” she later added.

France’s equal marriage bill cleared its final hurdle after being approved by the Constitutional Council last Friday.

Mr Venner had described it as a “vile” law, saying it was as “disastrous” for France as the prospect of Islamist rule.

The first same-sex wedding in France is to take place in Montpellier on Wednesday 29 May.