French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has sought to mobilise her supporters six days ahead of France’s most unpredictable presidential election in decades by pledging to suspend all immigration.
Opinion polls have for months shown Ms Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron qualifying on Sunday for the 7 May run-off.
However, the gap with conservative Francois Fillon and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon has been tightening.
“I will protect you. My first measure as president will be to reinstate France’s borders,” Ms Le Pen said to wide applause and cheers from the crowd of about 5,000, prompting the National Front’s (FN) traditional “This is our home!” chant.
Slamming her rivals, whom she said wanted “savage globalisation,” she said hers was the camp of patriots.
“The choice on Sunday is simple,” she said. “It is a choice between a France that is rising again and a France that is sinking.”
While no polls have shown Ms Le Pen missing out on the run-off, they are now within the margin of error and any two of the four top candidates have a shot at qualifying.
Polls have consistently shown her losing that second round.
With pollsters saying abstentions could hit record highs, convincing voters to go to the polling stations on Sunday is key.
Ms Le Pen sought to do so by hitting her party’s trademark anti-EU, anti-immigration themes hard.
“Fight for victory, until the very last minute,” she said.
“If every patriot can this week convince just one abstentionist, just one undecided voter, we are sure to win!”
Getting the crowd to boo the European Union and its border-free Schengen area that she would take France out of if elected, Ms Le Pen said: “Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France, it’s a tragedy for France.”
Promising to immediately impose a moratorium on immigration, she said: “The French sometimes have fewer rights than foreigners – even illegal ones.”
Mr Macron urged voters to turn the page on the last 20 years and bring a new generation to power, as he stepped up attacks against resurgent far-left and conservative rivals.
The pro-EU centrist, who would become the youngest French leader since Napoleon if elected, said recent leaders had betrayed the post-war generation which had rebuilt the country, leaving France unreformed and sclerotic.
“What has been proposed to the French in the last 20 years is not liberation or reconstruction, but a slow, unavowed acceptation of unemployment, state impotence and social breakdown,” he told a cheering crowd of at least 18,000 people in the Bercy arena in Paris.
An Opinion Way poll put Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen both on 22% for the first round of the election.
Conservative Francois Fillon was just behind on 21%, having recovered some ground since being hit by a scandal over hundreds of thousands of euros of public money he paid his wife while employing her as his parliamentary assistant.
Mr Melenchon gained one point in the same poll to 18%, confirming the election is now a four-way race.
Two other polls had Mr Macron just ahead of Ms Le Pen in the first round, and beating her comfortably in the second.