Far-right MP shouts ‘go back to Africa’ at black rival in French parliament during migration debate | World News
The lower house of the French National Assembly was suspended on Thursday after a far-right MP shouted “go back to Africa” at a politician of color.
Carlos Martens Bilongo challenged the central government over a maritime rescue boat carrying hundreds of passengers in the Mediterranean that had not yet received a designated port.
The outburst came from Gregoire de Fournas, a 37-year-old member of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, who later said his words were not directed at Mr. Martens Bilongo, but at migrants. trying to get to Europe by sea.
Other MPs shouted angrily at him and each other after he spoke.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said: “There is no place for racism in our democracy.
“The Office of Congress will convene and should decide on the form of sanctions necessary.”
Stephane Sejourne, leader of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, called for Mr de Fournas to step down, while the left-wing coalition Nupes said he should be expelled.
“The National Rally showed its true face today,” Nupes said in a statement.
“This racism is characteristic of the far right: discrimination according to the color of your skin, dividing the French people.”
But Ms Le Pen insisted that her colleague had said nothing wrong and added that he was “clearly talking about migrants being transported by boat.
“The controversy created by our political opponents … will not fool the French.”
Martens Bilongo, 31, a teacher and activist before entering politics, responded to the incident by saying: “I put a question to the government, as is done weekly in Congress.
“Except that I couldn’t get to the end of my question, because a National Rally vice-captain interrupted me by shouting at me ‘Back to Africa!’
“I don’t think I’ll hear these words in Congress. But racism is always present, even in the most prestigious places of the republic.”
The French-born politician said that even if the words were aimed at migrants and not him, they were “unjustifiable”, adding: “Is it racism has it become so common that this sentence is acceptable?”
“This episode reminds us of what the far right is in France: the contempt for institutions and the hatred of millions of our fellow Frenchmen.
“This Thursday, I invited children from my constituency to Parliament so that they could attend my question before the government, with a certain pride.
“I’m thinking about them. To them, I will continue to do my duty without ever having to justify myself about the color of my skin.
“And so that in the end, they can live without the racism, but not the complacency, that’s going on in this country.”