By Juliette Jabkhiro

PARIS (Reuters) – The French interior ministry called for security reinforcement around LGBTQIA+ events ahead of elections, including Saturday’s Paris Pride, in a letter to police and local authorities sent on Friday.

As France heads to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a snap parliamentary election that could bring the far-right to power, there has been an increase in discriminatory acts that could target events organized by the LGBTQIA+ community, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin’s letter said.

It was sent ahead of the Pride event, which is the country’s largest march.

“Hate is on the rise. There are messages on social media calling on people to interfere with the march,” president of rights group Inter-LGBT, James Leperlier, told Reuters earlier this week.

LGBTQIA+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual, and the + symbol describes other parts of diverse sexual and gender identities.

Leperlier said that since far-right National Rally (RN) party scored big in the June 9 European elections, there has been a rise in hate speech and violent acts.

“Having the far-right so close to power legitimizes hate speech.”

The RN didn’t immediately reply to Reuters request for comment.

The party has previously said that it has no links to violent far-right groups. But it has voted against legislation that gives more rights to LGBTQIA+ groups, including in the European Parliament.

The Inter-LGBT and other rights groups have called on people to march in numbers on Saturday to oppose far-right ideas and protect LGBTQIA+ rights.

The Paris march organisers have doubled the number of volunteers handling security according to Leperlier.

(Reporting by Juliette Jabkhiro; editing by Clelia Oziel)

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