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Massive security as France goes to the polls

French voters have started casting ballots for the presidential election in a tense first-round poll that is seen as a test for the spread of populism around the world. More than 60,000 polling stations opened on Sunday for voters who will choose between 11 candidates in the most unpredictable election in generations. Massive Security As France Goes To The PollsPolling stations open in Paris. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu)

Opinion polls point to a tight race among the four top contenders vying to get into the May 7 presidential run-off that will decide who becomes France s next head of state. Polls suggest far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, were in the lead. However, conservative Francois Fillon, a former prime minister, appeared to be closing the gap, as was far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.

Massive Security As France Goes To The PollsA voting machine displays the names of the 11 candidates. (AP/Bertrand Combaldieu) France s 10% unemployment rate, its struggling economy and security issues topped concerns for the 47 million eligible voters. If Ms Le Pen or Mr Melenchon win a spot in the run-off, it will be seen as a victory for the rising wave of populism reflected by the votes for Donald Trump and Brexit.

Massive Security As France Goes To The PollsPeople line up before casting their vote. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

Mr Macron and Mr Fillon are committed to European unity and would reform employment rules.

Early voting began on Saturday in France s overseas territories.

Police set up shop to offer residents and cyclists security advice

Cyclists are being given to get their bikes security-marked and they will be able to get advice on cybercrime, as well as home and shed security at a pop-up shop in Chesterfield. The Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team will be hosting the event between 10am and 2pm, on Thursday, April 27, in the Vicar Lane Shopping Centre. They will be setting up in Unit 4, off Steeplegate – formerly Vision Express – and residents and shoppers will be invited to drop in and speak to officers to find out how they can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime. People can also bring their bicycles along for officers to security mark. The event has been set up as part of a series of pop-up crime prevention shops in Chesterfield town centre. PCSO Hayley Grundy of the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: Our last event in March was really popular, so we re delighted to offer residents and shoppers the chance to call in and see us again. We ll be offering advice on a wide range of crime prevention issues, from online cyber safety to home, vehicle or shed security.

You can also come along and speak about any concerns or issues with a local officer and cyclists can bring their bikes for security marking ready for the warmer, lighter months.

For more information, or to speak to a member of the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team call 101, or send them a message through the website www.derbyshire.police.uk.

People can also follow the team and their work on Twitter: @ChesterfieldSNT.

Paris gunman reportedly ‘known’ to security services

Two police officers and gunman are dead following a Paris shooting incident (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A gunman who killed a Paris police officer, and seriously wounded another two, before being shot dead was known to security services . It comes after the suspect opened fire on the police while they were stationed at the Champs-Elysees earlier tonight. It is understood the assailant stepped out of a car at a red light and opened fire with a Kalashnikov machine gun, also known as an AK-47.

One officer have been confirmed dead, with two wounded, as has their assailant. Police have confirmed they are now searching the attacker s home. The French Interior Ministry has said it is too early to say what the motive behind the attack was, but have said officers were deliberately attacked.

The counter-terror office has opened a preliminary investigation into the attack, but there has also been speculation that it could have been related to an armed robbery attempt. Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert said that the attacker targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station. A witness identified only as Ines told French television station BFM that she heard a shooting, saw a man s body on the ground and the area was quickly evacuated by police.

The attack comes three days before the first round of France s tense presidential election. A televised debate with all 11 presidential candidates was being broadcast when the attack took place. Security is high around the vote after France has been attacked in recent years.

Most recently, soldiers providing security at prominent locations were attacked in separate incidents one at the Louvre museum in February and one at Orly airport last month.

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