France: Avaaz Activists Celebrate Election Results, WWII Anniversary

On May 8, 2017 activists in France that are members of the group Avaaz celebrated for two reasons. One reason was France had elected a moderate, centrist to lead the country rather than the more radical right wing candidate. The other reason for the celebrate is the on May 8, 1945 the Allied forces announced the victory that marked the end of World War II and halted the rule and spread of fascism. Elie Buzyn, an 88-year old Auschwitz concentration camp survivor joined the celebrants gathered at the Eiffel Tower and encouraged them to continue to fight against extremism and support the new president.

Avaaz is an activist group headquartered in New York with 40 million members in about 200 countries. The word Avaaz means ‘voice’ and the organization’s members raise their voices and organize around problems like oppression, climate change, economic issues, armed conflicts as well as animal rights. Avaaz was created about 10 years ago when several progressive organizations decided to work together to be more effective. The organization had been very active in France in recent weeks to oppose the election of Marine Le Pen, an extremist presidential candidate, in France’s presidential race.

Marine Le Pen’s National Front party is a controversial right wing group that has a platform of racial intolerance, immigration bans, building more prisons and hiring more police. Elie Buzyn remembers as a 15 year old when Nazi authorities used the same platform to ostracize Jews and other groups and kill millions of people in concentration camps. At the celebration of the election of new French president Emmanuel Macron, Avaaz activists declared their opposition to hatred and racial intolerance. Buzyn had returned to Israel after being liberated from Auschwitz but eventually returned to make Paris his permanent home. Avaaz activists embrace diversity and solidarity.

For more information follow Avaaz on Twitter.

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