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Army and 50,000 police drafted in to guard voters fearing terror during French election

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THOUSANDS of armed military officers will be deployed across France as the country goes to the polls next weekend for the presidential election.

And anti-terror brigades set up after the 2015 attacks in Paris will be at every polling station as the public turns out en masse in the most controversial election in recent history.

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French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl has also revealed that 50,000 police officers will be on patrol over fears extremists may plan a terror attack.

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More than 230 people have been murdered and hundreds more injured in a variety of attacks over the past two years which prompted the country to declare a state of emergency.

Now a specialist military group made of of 10,000 soldiers known as Operation Sentinelle which was set up after the Paris Charlie Hebdo attacks of 2015 will join police to protect the public.

The Government has not declared any specific threat but referenced the recent Westminster and Stockholm terror attacks as evidence of the extremist threat.

A multi-million pound operation is set to get underway across the 67,000 polling stations in a bid to protect the public.

And armed officers will be ready to intervene at the first sign of trouble it has been warned.

Mr Fekl said: “I sent a circular to all prefectures in this sense, as much about the measures of prevention to be taken as about the possible interventions in case of difficulties.”

All of the 11 candidates running for president currently have secret service protection.

There have been numerous outbreaks of violence with both Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon all been publicly targeted.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement that there was an “extremely high level of cyber attack that could affect the conduct of electronic voting.”

“In view of this context, it was considered preferable not to take any risk likely to jeopardise the legislative vote for French abroad.”

The two rounds of the French presidential elections will take place on April 23 and May 7.

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