French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon cancels campaign event after shooting

Karim Cheurfi shot dead a French policeman last night on the Champs Elysees

The European project will face its next test on Sunday, as the people of France head to the polls to participate in the first round of the French presidential elections.

The signatories note that "in recent weeks, progressive candidate Melenchon has risen in the polls and is now perceived as a serious competitor in the presidential election in France".

The claim was reported near the bottom of a New York Times write up on the attack, with the paper of record suggesting the response was evidence of Macron "stepp [ing] back from the moment".

Marine Le Pen's main rival on Sunday is Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate. "And what can you say - it never ends", he added. Now comes Marine Le Pen, another right wing populist, who could become the next President of France.

More than 50,000 police and gendarmes are mobilized to protect Sunday's first-round vote in the two-stage election, with an additional 7,000 soldiers also on patrol.

That put the two men only three percentage points behind Le Pen - on 22 percent - and trailing Macron, who consolidated his status as the frontrunner on 25 percent. The Islamic State group's claim of responsibility just a few hours after the attack came unusually swiftly for the extremist group, which has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria.

President Francois Hollande said all the indications were that Thursday's attack on police officers in Paris was terrorist-related and he said security forces would be vigilant during the election.

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He added: "Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes". That's the way I think. "I am very thankful to him (Mourinho). But mentally he is excellent", Mourinho said.

French police say thieves stole a computer and a police armband from a auto used by aides to presidential candidate Francois Fillon.

Two French officials also told Associated Press that the attacker was detained in February for allegedly threatening police.

ANALYST TAKE: "The most likely scenario still appears to be Macron and Le Pen in the second round, but there are plenty of undecided French voters who could make a difference and the vote looks as uncertain as it ever has", said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG.

Speaking after a meeting Friday morning of the government's security council, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: "Barbarity and cowardice struck Paris last night, as they also recently struck elsewhere in Europe - in Berlin, Stockholm, in London".

"There is a chance that the market has been wrong-footed once again by the polls, and Le Pen is not guaranteed a spot in the second round". Fillon wanted greater cooperation with Russian Federation and Iran and Melenchon said the best answer was to continue with the campaign and show France won't give into violence and he's going ahead with a drinks party for supporters in Paris this evening. "Don't yield to fear, don't yield to division and intimidation". Although many of these parties have existed for decades, they have been emboldened by Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Fillon said that if elected, his foreign policy priority would be the destruction of ISIS.

By quitting Hollande's government to run as an independent, Macron also sucked away voters from the Socialist Party's candidate, Benoit Hamon. The country was rocked by an attack on Nice a year ago, when 86 people were killed after a truck was driven into crowds on Bastille Day, and Paris in November 2015, when 130 were murdered in coordinated suicide bombings and mass shootings around the city.

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