Saturday, December 10

The far-right French deputy who made a racist comment is sanctioned

The French National Assembly has approved this Friday to sanction the far-right deputy Grégoire de Fournas for a racist comment made the day before in full parliamentary session —supposedly against a deputy from the left—, suspending his attendance at the Lower House for 15 days.

“Free democratic debate cannot allow everything. Certainly not insults, certainly not racism, whatever the goal. It is the denial of the republican values ​​that bring us together in this chamber”, stated Yaël Braun-Pivet, the president of the National Assembly, after the deputies approved the punishment, the maximum provided for in the House regulations.

The sanction was approved in a vote in which De Fournas, who denies the racist insult, has received the support of his colleagues from the National Association (RN), the party led by Marine Le Pen, who considers the accusations a manipulation of the rest of the groups.

“I am totally innocent of the facts that are reproached me. I suffer this sanction of unprecedented harshness as a great injustice. But, respectful of the institution, I submit to it, ”said the deputy through Twitter after the vote.

After the approval of the punishment against De Fournas, the deputy who was speaking when his exclamation sounded, Carlos Martens Bilongo, has expressed his “relief” because “the maximum sanction” had been approved on the far-right deputy.

Instead, Le Pen has assured in a statement to the press outside the chamber that it is a “condemnation” of a “political idea” -that the NGO boats should return migrants to their ports of origin- and that, therefore, it is a process contrary to “freedom of expression”.

The incident occurred on Thursday during a debate on immigration, in a speech by Martens Bilongo, a black deputy from the leftist La Francia Insumisa (LFI) party, who drew attention to the situation of around a thousand immigrants rescued by three as many other NGOs, for which landing ports were being sought.

Then the cry “Let them go back to Africa!” or “Let it go back to Africa!” (the French pronunciation is almost identical), and the LFI deputies considered that the singular had been used to offend their colleague. That generated a violent verbal diatribe that forced the president of the Assembly to suspend the session.