PARIS— A far-right MP has been given a 15-day ban from France’s National Assembly for shouting “they should go back to Africa” as a black colleague talked about immigration.
Grégoire de Fournas of National Rally (RN) said his remark had not been aimed at Carlos Martens Bilongo but at migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.
Bilongo said he had been born in France and the remark was “shameful”.
MPs voted on Friday to suspend de Fournas and dock half his allowance, the harshest sanction available to the Assembly.
Bilongo had been questioning the government about a request by the SOS Méditerranée non-governmental organisation for help in finding a port for 234 migrants rescued at sea in recent days.
The exact meaning of the National Rally MP’s remark is disputed, because theoretically he could have referred to more than one person. The official account of the session recorded his off-microphone remark as Qu’il retourne en Afrique – “he should go back to Africa” – but the plural Qu’ils retournent en Afrique sounds exactly the same.
de Fournas was adamant he had been referring to the “boat transporting migrants to Europe”, and RN party leader Marine Le Pen accused her political opponents of fabricating a vulgar outcry.
de Fournas later apologised to Bilongo for “the misunderstanding” his comments had caused and if he had been hurt by them.
Source: Nam news Network