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France's Melenchon warns of ‘coup’ after his home is raided

FRENCH opposition leader Jean-Luc Melenchon warned of a “police, judicial and political coup” after his home and party offices were raided in Paris today morning.

He slammed the raid, which was ordered by the Ministry of Justice, as an attempted “coup de force” against France Insoumise to “scare and intimidate us.”

“We are honest people, we have nothing to hide, everything we do is public. 

“They want to intimidate us, to criminalise our political action. I will not let myself go. We are not afraid,” Mr Melenchon told reporters after eight officers searched his home.

The raids were made as part of two separate investigations into France Insoumise, which is accused of misuse of party funds by prosecutors. 

They claim assistants were paid with money from the European Parliament while they worked for the party’s national office, and also accused Mr Melenchon of financial irregularities in his unsuccessful 2017 presidential campaign.

Mr Melenchon warned that the investigations, which were triggered after a 2017 complaint from far-right Front National MEP Sophie Montel, were politically motivated.

Speaking in a series of video messages on Facebook, the left-wing politician warned: “The new government has been born in shame, in the shame of raiding the premises of one of the main opposition parties.”

He accused the action of being ordered by French President Emmanuel Macron, and told him: “When you search through my computer, you know very well that you are doing something dishonest, rotten and twisted.”

He explained that at least eight police officers, some armed, arrived at his house at 7am to conduct the searches.

“They’ve even searched through my sketch book, friends. Now they know how many paint brushes I have to do my paintings in Indian ink.”

He questioned why there had been no investigation into the finances of Mr Macron, whom he alleged had benefited from “irregular donations” to his presidential campaign.

“Why has no preliminary inquiry been opened? Why did the president of the [national commission for campaign financing] CNCCFP spend his time defending Mr Macron’s account? 

“Does this relate to his salary increase of 57 per cent in June 2018?”

Mr Melenchon polled almost 20 per cent in the first round of the presidential elections last year and his party has 17 MPs in the French parliament.

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