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French far-right MP suspended after yelling, ‘Go back to Africa’

French far-right MP suspended after yelling, ‘Go back to Africa’

Marine Le Pen slams the decision to suspend Grégoire de Fournas following racist remark in parliament.
A French far-right lawmaker who shouted, “Go back to Africa!” in parliament as a Black colleague from the far left was talking about migrants will be suspended for 15 days following outrage over his racist remark.

Grégoire de Fournas, a lawmaker from Marine Le Pen’s opposition National Rally, made the comment Thursday, as left-wing MP Carlos Martens Bilongo was speaking about the challenges faced by migrants on a rescue boat of NGO SOS Méditerranée.

On Friday, the French National Assembly’s lawmakers voted to suspend de Fournas for 15 days, the maximum sanction possible under the parliament’s rules.

De Fournas argued that his comment was referring to the NGO boat — the subject Bilongo was talking about — and was not targeting the lawmaker directly.

Le Pen slammed the decision to suspend de Fournas as a breach of freedom of expression. “This is a political trial that condemns a political idea: the one that considers that NGO boats should drop off migrants not in Europe but in the ports of departure,” she tweeted.

The president of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, on Friday said that the “democratic debate” should not allow “racism.” On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron also condemned de Fournas’ comment.
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