Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's popular right wing National Front party, has said that a public suicide that appears to have been an anti-gay marriage protest was a "political act" that was trying to "wake up the people of France."
Le Pen's comments came in a tweet just a few hours after the 78-year-old Dominique Venner, a far-right essayist in France, shot himself dead by the altar in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame.
Venner's suicide is being read as a response to the recent gay marriage law signed by Socialist President Francois Hollande just weeks ago. In a recent blog post Venner had condemned the “vile” new law and warned of an imminent takeover by “Islamists.”
Le Pen tweeted a few hours after the news:
Tout notre respect à Dominique Venner dont le dernier geste, éminemment politique, aura été de tenter de réveiller le peuple de France. MLP
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) May 21, 2013
That translates roughly as:
"All respect to Dominique Venner whose final, eminently political act was to try to wake up the people of France."
In a follow-up tweet, Le Pen wrote that "The fact remains that it is in life and hope that France will recover and be saved." Both tweets were signed MLP, indicating Le Pen wrote them herself.
Le Pen had been a opponent of gay marriage, though some had wondered if her own personal views on gay issues were more liberal than the far right party she inherited from her father.
She gained almost one-fifth of the first round votes in 2012's presidential election.
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