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French protesters are standing up to the far right ahead of the country's snap elections

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French protesters are standing up to the far right ahead of the country's snap elections
News

News

French protesters are standing up to the far right ahead of the country's snap elections

2024-06-16 01:45 Last Updated At:01:50

PARIS (AP) — Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections.

The French Interior Ministry said 250,000 people turned out to protest, 75,000 of them in Paris. Despite rainy and windy weather, those who fear that the elections will produce France's first far-right government since World War II gathered at Place de la Republique before marching through eastern Paris. Up to 21,000 police and gendarmes were deployed.

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Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PARIS (AP) — Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections.

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Members of the French communist party march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Members of the French communist party march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march with a banner that reads "Popular Front", during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march with a banner that reads "Popular Front", during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Police stand near a damaged bus shelter during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Antiracism groups will join French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Police stand near a damaged bus shelter during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Antiracism groups will join French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters sing chants during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters sing chants during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner showing the faces of French Presidents and the word 'Honte' or 'Shame' during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner showing the faces of French Presidents and the word 'Honte' or 'Shame' during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

French President Emmanuel Macron, right shakes hands with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

French President Emmanuel Macron, right shakes hands with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Jordan Bardella far-right National Rally leader for the upcoming election speaks to the media as he visits a farm in Chuelles, 137 kms (85 miles) south of Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. The election is to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Jordan Bardella far-right National Rally leader for the upcoming election speaks to the media as he visits a farm in Chuelles, 137 kms (85 miles) south of Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. The election is to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Communist Party national secretary Fabien Roussel, gestures as he speaks during media conference as he is surrounded by leaders of France left-wing coalition for the upcoming election attend a media conference in Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. Leaders of France's left-wing parties, allied in a coalition known as the New Popular Front on Friday outlined their plan to fend off the far-right from claiming power at the upcoming snap national election. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Communist Party national secretary Fabien Roussel, gestures as he speaks during media conference as he is surrounded by leaders of France left-wing coalition for the upcoming election attend a media conference in Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. Leaders of France's left-wing parties, allied in a coalition known as the New Popular Front on Friday outlined their plan to fend off the far-right from claiming power at the upcoming snap national election. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

The protesters held placards reading “Liberty for all, Equality for all and Fraternity with all” — a reference to France's national motto — and “Let’s break frontiers, documents for all, no to the immigration bill.” Some chanted “Free Palestine, viva Palestina,” and wore keffiyeh scarves.

Among them was Nour Cekar, a 16 year-old high school student from the Paris region, who has French and Algerian parents and wears the hijab.

“To me, the extreme right is a danger because it supports an ideology based on the fear of the other, whereas we are all French citizens despite our differences,” she told The Associated Press.

Cekar said she will vote for the left-wing coalition because “it is the only political party that addresses racism and Islamophobia.”

“I fear the rise of the National Rally because I am afraid that they will ban the hijab in name of women's liberty. I am a woman and I should be able to decide what I want to wear. I am a free woman,” she said, adding that she is insulted on social media and in the streets on a daily basis because of her headscarf.

Against the backdrop of music of French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura, the crowd chanted “Everyone hates racism.”

“France is made up of people of different origins. It is its strength. The National Rally wants to break that,” 68-year-old Mohamed Benammar, a French doctor with Tunisian roots who works in a Paris public hospital, told AP.

“We provide medical care to everyone, without worrying about their nationality, the color of their skin or their religion, unlike the fascists (extreme-right leaders) that single out Black, Arabs or Muslim people,” he said.

Although his son told him that it was useless to protest, Bennamar said he's convinced that it is important to make his voice heard. “I am here to send a strong signal to politicians. We won’t stay silent in the face of the far right,” he said.

Police in Paris reported “numerous attempts at damage” by protesters. They said that nine protesters were arrested and three officers were injured. An AP journalist said police used tear gas against demonstrators who tried to vandalize a bus stop and advertising boards.

In the French Riviera city of Nice, protesters marched down Jean Médecin Avenue, the city’s main shopping street, chanting against the National Rally, its leader Jordan Bardella as well as against President Emmanuel Macron. Local police said 2,500 people took part.

Nice is traditionally a conservative stronghold, but has over the past decade turned firmly in favor of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and her far-right rival Eric Zemmour.

Crowds have been gathering daily ever since the anti-immigration National Rally made historic gains in the European Parliament elections on Sunday, crushing Macron's pro-business moderates and prompting him to dissolve the National Assembly.

New elections for the lower house of parliament were set in two rounds, for June 30 and July 7. Macron remains president until 2027 and in charge of foreign policy and defense, but his presidency would be weakened if the National Rally wins and takes power of the government and domestic policy.

"We need a democratic and social upsurge — if not the extreme right will take power,'' French unions said in a statement Friday. "Our Republic and our democracy are in danger.''

They noted that in Europe and across the world, extreme-right leaders have passed laws detrimental to women, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color.

To prevent the National Rally party from winning the upcoming elections, left-wing parties finally agreed Friday to set aside differences over the wars in Gaza and Ukraine and form a coalition. They urged French citizens to defeat the far right.

French opinion polls suggest the National Rally — whose founder has been repeatedly convicted of racism and antisemitism — is expected to be ahead in the first round of the parliamentary elections. The party came out on top in the European elections, garnering more than 30% of the vote cast in France, almost twice as many votes as Macron’s party Renaissance.

Macron's term is still on for three more years, and he would retain control over foreign affairs and defense regardless of the result of the French parliamentary elections.

But his presidency would be weakened if the National Rally wins, which could put its 28-year-old party leader Bardella on track to become the next prime minister, with authority over domestic and economic affairs.

Morton reported from London. Associated Press writer Barbara Surk in Nice, France, contributed to this report.

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Members of the French communist party march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Members of the French communist party march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march with a banner that reads "Popular Front", during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march with a banner that reads "Popular Front", during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Police stand near a damaged bus shelter during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Antiracism groups will join French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Police stand near a damaged bus shelter during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Antiracism groups will join French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters sing chants during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters sing chants during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters march during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters attend a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner showing the faces of French Presidents and the word 'Honte' or 'Shame' during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A protester holds an anti-far right banner showing the faces of French Presidents and the word 'Honte' or 'Shame' during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Protesters hold an anti-far right banner during a rally in Paris, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Anti-racism groups joined French unions and a brand-new left-wing coalition in protests in Paris and across France on Saturday against the surging nationalist far right as frenzied campaigning is underway ahead of snap parliamentary elections. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

French President Emmanuel Macron, right shakes hands with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

French President Emmanuel Macron, right shakes hands with Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a working session on AI, Energy, Africa and Mideast at the G7 summit, in Borgo Egnazia, near Bari in southern Italy, Friday, June 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

From left, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis and Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni listen to the pontiff speaking during a working session on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Energy, Africa-Mediterranean, on day two of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia, southern Italy, on Friday, June 14, 2024. (Christopher Furlong/Pool Photo via AP)

Jordan Bardella far-right National Rally leader for the upcoming election speaks to the media as he visits a farm in Chuelles, 137 kms (85 miles) south of Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. The election is to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Jordan Bardella far-right National Rally leader for the upcoming election speaks to the media as he visits a farm in Chuelles, 137 kms (85 miles) south of Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. The election is to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Communist Party national secretary Fabien Roussel, gestures as he speaks during media conference as he is surrounded by leaders of France left-wing coalition for the upcoming election attend a media conference in Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. Leaders of France's left-wing parties, allied in a coalition known as the New Popular Front on Friday outlined their plan to fend off the far-right from claiming power at the upcoming snap national election. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

Communist Party national secretary Fabien Roussel, gestures as he speaks during media conference as he is surrounded by leaders of France left-wing coalition for the upcoming election attend a media conference in Paris, Friday, June 14, 2024. Leaders of France's left-wing parties, allied in a coalition known as the New Popular Front on Friday outlined their plan to fend off the far-right from claiming power at the upcoming snap national election. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A newly posted video of Miss Kansas calling out her domestic violence abuser from the stage the night she was crowned is whipping up a maelstrom of support on social media.

Alexis Smith, who works overnight shifts as a cardiothoracic intensive care nurse in Wichita, was crowned Miss Kansas on June 8, but posted the video of her on-stage comments just this past week on the platform now known as X. Her comments are resonating with thousands in part because she called out her own abuser from the stage while she said the perpetrator was sitting in the audience.

The video Smith posted July 16 has been viewed more than 60,000 times and generated a rash of news stories.

“My vision as the next Miss Kansas is to eliminate unhealthy and abusive relationships,” Smith said during the interview portion of the pageant last month. “Matter of fact, some of you in this audience saw me very emotional because my abuser is here today. But that’s not going to stop me from being on this Miss Kansas stage and from representing as the next Miss Kansas.”

Smith just recently started her reign and began raising concerns about the issue in interviews and social media posts. Her bold pageant statement against domestic abuse and her courage to speak out is being praised online by dozens of people as her video gets shared again and again.

The beauty queen cares deeply about domestic violence issues because not only was she a victim, but so were many of the other women in her family, she has said.

“My family, every single woman in my family, was impacted by domestic violence,” she said in an interview with Wichita television station KSN. “At the age of 14, I got in my first relationship, but it was also an abusive relationship that I was in until about 2018, 2019. It’s something that I’m still experiencing and dealing with today.”

Smith said she even moved to Texas for a couple years after she escaped the relationship. She returned to Wichita to study nursing at Newman University.

This photo provided by Miss America shows Alexis Smith who was crowned Miss Kansas on June 8, 2024, at the ceremony held in Pratt, Kan. Smith works overnight shifts as a cardiothoracic intensive care nurse in Wichita. (Miss America via AP)

This photo provided by Miss America shows Alexis Smith who was crowned Miss Kansas on June 8, 2024, at the ceremony held in Pratt, Kan. Smith works overnight shifts as a cardiothoracic intensive care nurse in Wichita. (Miss America via AP)

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