Emmanuel Macron rival promises to ‘clear out crime-ridden cities with a power hose’

In her interview, she called for “shock brigades” to deal with urban crime using “digital means, the tax authorities but also the army” to secure incursions into no-go areas.

Given France’s overcrowded prisons, she wants to create temporary detention centres to house prisoners serving short-term sentences while building 20,000 more permanent cell places.

Sensing the danger, Mr Macron will next Monday travel to Nice to discuss crime and insecurity.

Ms Pécresse’s power hose comments came just as Mr Macron stirred up a major controversy on Tuesday evening after telling the Parisien newspaper that he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated with more restrictions.

The use of vulgar slang word “emmerder” (literally, “to put someone in the s—”), was condemned by his opponents including Ms Pécresse, who said it was “not the president’s job to divide the French people into good and bad people”.

However, commentators say the incumbent president’s outburst helped him hog the media spotlight, forcing Ms Pécresse to employ shock tactics to rekindle interest in her campaign. “How to exist when you’re in mid-presidential campaign and the only subject is Covid-19?,” asked BFMTV on its website.

“Macron is using diversion tactics with his phrases but when the French open their eyes on his record, they will see a total crisis of authority,” she claimed.

“We have a president who waxes jabbers on all the time to insult or to seduce… The French know me less because I act,” she said.

Jean Castex, Mr Macron’s prime minister, hit back on RTL: “If there is no judicial follow-up, you can have all the power hoses you want, it won’t work.”

Ms Pécresse, who is bidding to be France’s first woman president, unveiled her campaign team this week, which included all her Republicans party rivals for the nomination.

Among her highest-ranking aides is former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

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