BRUSSELS, Belgium – French presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen was booed by colleagues in the European parliament Wednesday and called off a news conference as activists wearing "Stop the Nazis" stickers protested his far-right views.
Le Pen's stormy day in parliament here, where he is a member, came as officials across the European Union condemned his stunning success in French presidential elections over the weekend. Le Pen took second place, advancing to a runoff vote May 5 against President Jacques Chirac.
In chaotic scenes after Le Pen cancelled his press conference, Belgian right-wing extremist Karel Dillen received a pie in his face and a brief fight ensued. Several hundred anti-Le Pen protesters demonstrated outside, holding banners reading "Together against hatred."
When Le Pen rose to address the parliament about the Middle East crisis, dozens of parliamentarians stood up holding black-and-white signs saying "Non" and jeered the politician known for his opposition to immigration and the EU.
European Parliament President Pat Cox intervened to restore order, shouting, "Let the speaker have his word and if you wish to make a silent protest, do that. Please continue Mr. Le Pen."
The presidential candidate continued with a one-minute speech on Middle East policy, complaining "France and Europe are absent since they have fallen in with orders of the United States ... We can only deplore this."
He sat down to a few cheers from fellow extreme right-wing parliamentarians. Others continued to boo him, and Le Pen soon left the chamber.
He had planned a press conference for later in another room but decided against it, saying too many protesters had mingled with journalists. Dozen of protesters had already gathered around the room, many wearing yellow stickers with the words "Stop the Nazis."
"We'll have a press conference when we have security and which will only be open to journalists, not to provocateurs," said Jean-Claude Martinez, a parliamentarian and a member of Le Pen's Front National party. Le Pen will now explain his views on the European Union in Paris on Friday.
Le Pen has long been a member of the 626-seat European Parliament, but always defended nationalistic interests and attacked the political cornerstones on which the 15-nation EU is built.
During his campaign he has said he would renounce treaties that bind France to the community and restore the French franc at the expense of the joint euro currency. He said the EU has robbed France of its independence to act.
If elected president, Le Pen said he would hold a referendum on getting France out of the bloc.