French politicians attacked on election campaign trail

A candidate for Emmanuel Macron's centrist alliance has been attacked while campaigning, just days before the second round of voting in France's election.

Government spokesperson Prisca Thevenot and a handful of fellow campaigners were putting up posters when they were surrounded and set upon by a group in Hauts-de-Seine near Paris.

Ms Thevenot escaped uninjured but her deputy Virginie Lanlo and a party activist were taken to hospital following the attack at around 8pm on Wednesday.

Four people, including three minors, have been taken into police custody, prosecutors said.

Details of the attack, and the motive behind it, have not been confirmed, but French media said one of those hurt was hit by a scooter.

Ms Lanlo reportedly suffered a wound to her arm, while the activist had their jaw broken.

In a social media statement on Thursday morning, Ms Thevenot thanked police and firefighters who came to her team's aid.

She added: "Thank you also to everyone for your support. Violence is never the answer."

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal also wrote on X: "Violence and intimidation have no place in our democracy. They have no place in our republic.

"I express my full solidarity with the candidate and her teams. Let us reject the climate of violence and hatred that is taking hold."

Read more from Sky News:
Babies 'have little chance of survival' in Gaza

Hurricane Beryl hits Jamaica
Hezbollah claims it has fired 200 rockets into Israel

Meanwhile, a candidate for Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party said she was suspending her campaign following an altercation with a shopkeeper in Savoie, southeastern France.

Marie Dauchy wrote on social media that she had been "violently attacked" at a market on Wednesday morning.

French media reported that the man allegedly tried to slap some leaflets out of her hands, while he is also accused of shouting insults and threatening to kill her.

He has been taken into custody and denies making death threats, officials said.

It comes as voters in France prepare to head to the polls for a second time this Sunday 7 July.

More than 30,000 extra police will be deployed across the country to ensure there is no trouble, the government said.

In the first round of voting last Sunday, National Rally secured 33% of the vote, while the left-wing New Popular Front coalition got almost 28%.

Ensemble, which includes President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party, trailed behind in third with nearly 21% of votes, according to France's interior ministry.

A poll on Wednesday suggested Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) would not win a majority of seats in Sunday's vote, indicating efforts by French mainstream parties to block the far-right might work.

Mr Attal said earlier he believed the cross-party bid to deprive the far-right RN of a majority could succeed.

Crowds of protesters have been gathering at locations in Paris to demonstrate against the far-right in recent days, prompting fears the Olympics Games, which are due to start in the French capital in a few weeks, could be disrupted.