November 30, 2022

Brighton Journal

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French Parliament shaken by far-right MPs ‘Back to Africa’

Suspension

In an extremely rare move, a far-right French lawmaker was suspended from Parliament on Friday for shouting “Go back to Africa” ​​while his fellow blacks spoke about immigrants.

The comments, which suspended parliament on Thursday, sparked outrage over racism and sparked a wave of condemnation.

Carlos Martins Bilongo, a 31-year-old black legislator representing the northern Paris region, was addressing the National Assembly, or Chamber of Deputies, talking about migrants stranded at sea, when he interrupted another MP, Grégoire de Fornas, 37 and shouted that he One must “go back to Africa!”

Thursday’s outburst rocked the hearing, not least because the pronouns “he” and “they” are pronounced the same in French, making it possible that de Fournas’ comment was intentional for his fellow lawmaker. An official’s jaw fell. Others stood and shouted, before the Assembly President quickly suspended the session.

Sticking with his party’s longstanding anti-immigrant rhetoric, de Fornas later said he was referring to immigrants, not his fellow countryman. But critics considered it no less insulting, and many considered it an insult thrown in the legislative hall at a member of Parliament.

Bilongo, a teacher born in Paris, said in a statement De Fornas’ interpretation does not justify the observation. Has racism become so mundane that this phrase has become accepted? he wrote.

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“I didn’t think I would be humiliated in the National Assembly today,” Bilongo Tell reporters. “They insulted me and all the people in France who have that color of my skin.”

MPs on Friday agreed to suspend de Fournas for 15 days of parliamentary debates and withhold half of the allowance for two months. It is only the second time in modern French history that such a disciplinary measure has been adopted.

“This punishment is the most severe that our internal rules provide,” said Parliament Speaker Yael Brown-Bevit, calling for “dignity” in future debates.

Deputies from the party of French President Emmanuel Macron were quick to condemn the incident, a description It’s a “scandal” and Pledge Not to sit in the Chamber of Deputies unless de Fornas receives a “severe punishment”.

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De Fornas said on Friday to respect him decision to stop it. But he criticized the decision, calling it unfair. Accuse His opponents to “manipulate” and reaffirm his party’s position against the arrival of immigrants. He told reporters that his comment on returning to Africa refers to a boat It carries 234 immigrants. The relief agency that saved them at sea is attractive European governments to find a port for them to disembark as the weather worsens.

The leader of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, who defied Macron In France’s elections this year, defend De Fornas, tweeting that the anger was “created by our political opponents”.

Her opponents have cast her party’s reaction to the escalation in parliament this week as evidence of its xenophobic roots as it seeks to bring the far right into mainstream politics.

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Le Pen led her party to its best-ever performance in the June legislative elections, as she worked to reshape her image and focus on issues such as high cost of living A record inflation in Europe. These gains, and Macron’s loss of an outright majority in parliament, complicate his second term at a time when the electorate is increasingly divided.