The Latest: Le Pen wants negotiations to drop euro currency

The Latest on France's presidential campaign (all times local):

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9:20 p.m.

French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen says that if she is elected president, she would spend 6 to 8 months negotiating with the European Union on dropping the shared euro currency and returning to the French franc.

Le Pen said on France 2 television Monday that she would wait until after the German election this fall to discuss the euro issue with the EU and to submit the issue to a referendum in France.

She said: "The euro has become some kind of weapon in the hands of the European Central Bank, the European Union... I want a free people."

Le Pen says large companies that operate internationally would be allowed to continue using the euro, while ordinary citizens would use a new franc.

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She is facing pro-European, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in Sunday's presidential runoff.


7:05 p.m.

French candidate Emmanuel Macron says he "respects" those who oppose his policies but still plan to vote for him Sunday to block far-right rival Marine Le Pen from the presidency.

Macron said at a Paris rally on Monday: "I am fully aware that on May 7, I'm doing more than promoting a political project — I'm fighting for the Republic and for a free democracy."

Addressing voters from the right and the left who chose other candidates in the election's first round, he said he is fighting to defeat Le Pen in Sunday's runoff "so that you can freely, democratically express your disagreement tomorrow."

Macron also warned against the "trap" of division, saying Le Pen's party is trying to "make us believe one can protect the French people by designating Muslim French people as the enemy."

He promised a "zero tolerance" policy in the fight against terrorism.


6:10 p.m.

Centrist presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron is taking the offensive against far-right rival Marine Le Pen, saying her platform would lead to less freedom in France.

Speaking in a Paris hall on Monday, Macron criticized Le Pen's "rude manners" and called her "the heir" to her father's politics.

Jean-Marie Le Pen co-founded the National Front party his daughter now leads. She expelled him in 2015 after he reiterated anti-Semitic comments.

Macron told supporters waving French and European flags: "Don't boo her, fight her! Go and convince (others), make her lose next Sunday."

He says Le Pen's priorities as president would be "to fight against press freedom, "against women's rights, the right to abortion" and "against same-sex couples' rights."

Macron, a former economy minister, is campaigning on strong pro-European, pro-free market, liberal views.


4:50 p.m.

Thousands of French union activists are marching through Paris and other cities to demand that France's next president protect worker rights — but they appear divided about how to cast their vote.

Troublemakers on the sidelines of a Paris union march clashed with police and threw firebombs at a row of motorcycles. Some carried banners protesting both far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. The two face off Sunday in France's presidential runoff.

The moderate CFDT union marked the May Day holiday with a small Paris rally against Le Pen, leader of the National Front party. At a larger union rally nearby, some marchers carried signs reading "Let's block the National Front" — but no one was openly rallying for Macron.

Marchers included far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came in fourth in the first-round presidential vote. He strongly opposes Le Pen gaining power but has also refused to endorse Macron, seen as a pro-business figure who could reduce France's strong labor protections.


2:15 p.m.

France far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has accused rival Emmanuel Macron of being a puppet of the world of finance and Islamic fundamentalists.

Cheers of "Marine President!" and anti-immigrant chants rose up in the crowd of thousands for Le Pen's rally north of Paris.

Le Pen, who hopes to mimic President Donald Trump's populist electoral victory, compared Macron to Hillary Clinton. Le Pen also sought repeatedly to puncture Macron's argument that he represents change, calling him a lapdog of unpopular outgoing President Francois Hollande.

Le Pen called Macron the candidate of "the caviar left" and "moralizing snobbery" and warned that his pro-business policies wouldn't create jobs but send them abroad and leave French workers hungry.


1:40 p.m.

The founder of the far-right National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has called on the French to vote for his daughter Marine Le Pen in Sunday's presidential runoff.

The plug from the elderly Le Pen came in a May Day speech at the foot of the statue of his hero, Joan of Arc, in Paris. It also came despite the fact that his daughter has expelled him from the party he co-founded.

Le Pen, 88, said in his speech Monday that "she is not Joan of Arc, but she accepts the same mission ... France."

He said her rival, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, "wants to dynamize the economy, but he is among those who dynamited it." The comment was a reference to Macron's time as economy minister under the unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Le Pen was expelled from the party in 2015 for repeating an anti-Semitic phrase for which he was convicted.


12:25 p.m.

The son of a man killed on the sidelines of a 1995 far-right march has joined French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on a Paris bridge.

Macron hugged Said Bourram, who was 9 when his father was killed.

Bourram, who supports Macron, says his father was targeted "because he was a foreigner, an Arab. That is why I am fighting, to say no to racism."

The National Front traditionally holds a march in central Paris on May 1, and at the 1995 event, skinheads broke away and pushed 29-year-old Brahim Bourram off the bridge into the Seine River. Then-party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen sought to distance himself from the attackers, but the death drew national outrage.

Macron faces Le Pen's daughter Marine, who took over the party, in Sunday's runoff.


10:25 a.m.

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is paying homage to a Moroccan man killed on the sidelines of a far-right march in 1995.

Macron is seeking to remind voters of the dark past of rival Marine Le Pen's National Front party, which she has tried to detoxify. Both face off in Sunday's runoff.

The National Front traditionally holds a march in central Paris on May 1 to honor Joan of Arc, and at the 1995 event, a group of skinheads broke away and pushed 29-year-old Brahim Bourram off a bridge into the Seine River, where he drowned. Then-party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen sought to distance himself from the attackers, but the death drew national outrage.

Macron on Monday is joining Bourram's son and anti-National Front protesters to honor Bourram's memory.

--This item has been corrected to show that Macron joined Bourram's son, not his father.


10 a.m.

France's tense presidential race is colliding with May Day labor marches in a campaign dominated by worries over jobs and seen as a test of populism's global appeal.

Less than a week before Sunday's runoff, far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are holding separate rallies Monday.

But Le Pen's efforts to clean up her National Front party's anti-Semitic image could be undermined by a parallel Paris event by her father, Jean-Marie, expelled from the party over his extreme views.

Meanwhile, the traditional May 1 union marches across France celebrating workers' rights will be politically charged this year. Some groups want a united front to keep Le Pen from the presidency, but unions fear Macron will dismantle worker protections.