Paris, May 8 (AFP) Thousands of flag-waving supporters gave Emmanuel Macron a rapturous welcome as he strode into the courtyard of the Louvre museum to the strains of the European anthem after his decisive election victory. Also Read - 'Outstanding': French Envoy to India Praises Rafale, Photography of Jets on Landing Prohibited

The glass pyramid in the world-famous courtyard glowed golden as 39-year-old Macron made a solitary walk yesterday to a stage in front, looking solemn. Also Read - Remembering 'India’s Missile Man': Tributes Pour in For Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on His 5th Death Anniversary

“Tonight, France won,” he cried to the crowds who yelled with joy. Also Read - 'Always With You': France's Message to India on 21st Anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas

Many of the mainly youthful supporters were wearing the t-shirt of Macron’s centrist movement En Marche (“On the Move”).

Some supporters scaled lampposts to get a better view of Macron, who was savouring a thumping victory estimated at around 65 to 35 percent over far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

An instant street party had erupted outside the Louvre after the results were announced. Cars honked as passengers waved French flags, while the crowds chanted “President Macron, President Macron!” from the pavements.

Street vendors wheeled carts with sausages and cold drinks toward the crowds, with some vendors selling French and EU flags.

Shouts of joy erupted earlier as giant screens on either side of the pyramid flashed up the result.

“He’s a symbol of hope,” said Jean-Luc Songtia, 36. “It’s like Obama eight years ago. It’s youth, it’s hope.” Under extremely tight security, hundreds of the some 1,800 journalists accredited for the event were still trying to get into the grounds when Macron’s victory was announced.

“We’ve won!” the crowd chanted as if at a football match following Macron’s win.

“He killed her, that’s all there is to it,” said 31- year-old Abdel Oukil. “I was convinced she would score over 40 percent.”

Fabien Colonna, 29, said he was relieved by the decisive margin, saying “if it was less it would have been dicey,” after a bruising campaign that exposed France’s deep economic and social divisions.

The high abstention rate of around 25 percent worried Sylvie Semet, 58, who said it meant “that people don’t feel they are represented, they feel forgotten.” She added: “Macron had better work hard, because people are ready to pounce.”

Macron was to address the crowds after delivering a solemn five-minute televised address from his party headquarters nearby in which he vowed to heal the “divisions that have undermined France”.

The sobriety of that speech was in contrast to Macron’s exuberance after the April 23 first round of the election, when he qualified alongside Le Pen for yesterday’s run-off.

He drew criticism for what some saw as a triumphalist speech and then a celebratory dinner at a Paris bistro, with one prominent critic saying that he had been “smug”. (AFP) MRJ

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.