Eiffel Tower hijacked as political billboard in French election duel

PARIS -- It is the last day of campaigning in France before this weekend's presidential election, and as CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports, the two candidates aren't the only ones trying to influence voters. 

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Greenpeace activists display a banner at the Eiffel tower reads,"liberty, equality, fraternity" in Paris, France, May 5, 2017.

AP

Paris woke up Friday morning to discover its most symbolic structure had become a political billboard. The environmental group Greenpeace unfurled a huge banner on the Eiffel Tower, bearing the French national slogan, "Liberty, Equality Fraternity," and the word "Resist."

It was widely interpreted as support for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, and against his right wing, anti-immigration opponent Marine Le Pen. 

She continues to trail by an apparently insurmountable 20 or so points in the polls, and her chances weren't likely helped by another intervention.  

"I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward," former U.S. President Barack Obama said in a video statement released Thursday.

But Le Pen has steadfastly refused to give up, and her supporters take hope from recent history.

Coleen Moumane points to the victories of Donald Trump in the United States, and the "Leave" campaign that delivered Britain's vote to exit the European Union, as evidence that we are living in an age of unlikely upsets.

"Because Trump -- it was exactly the same thing, maybe six months ago -- and everybody said that Hillary would win, and she didn't, so there's still a chance," Moumane told CBS News.

Le Pen has run a campaign right out of Donald Trump's playbook. She attacked Macron at a heated and sometimes ugly debate earlier this week, suggesting he had squirrelled money away in an offshore account, but then admitting she had no evidence.

A furious Macron has launched a legal complaint. "Fake News," he called it.

A protester hurled eggs at Le Pen on Thursday, but missed. The poll predictions on Sunday's vote may be more on the mark, however. 

The gap in the poll numbers between the two candidates is so large that Macron's main enemy now may be complacency; Le Pen's supporters will turn out -- Macron has to make sure his don't stay home.