A parliament session in France descended into chaos after an MP shouted “They should go back to Africa” at a black rival when he asked a question about migrant arrivals.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s government have promised a stricter approach on immigration after facing accusations of being unable to control new arrivals and also of failing to deport those whose residency or asylum requests were turned down.
Carlos Martens Bilongo, who is part of the left leaning France Unbowed party (LFI) was questioning the government regarding the request by the SOS Mediterranee NGO for Paris’s assistance in finding a port for 234 migrants rescued at sea a few days ago, according to France 24.
“They should go back to Africa!” interjected Gregoire de Fournas, who is a newly elected MP for National Rally (RN). National Rally have a largely anti-immigration stance.
The comment brought condemnation from other MP’s, in part because French the pronouns “he” and “they” are pronounced the same, leaving open the possibility that de Fournas might have been targeting Bilongo directly.
National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet suspended the session after asking who made the remark.
“Racism has no place in our democracy,” responded Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, asking the speaker to sanction the MP who made the comment.
De Fournas later defended his comment, telling BFM television that the National Rally believe that stopping all illegal immigration is necessary in light of the recent increase of immigrants trying to reach Africa from France. He denied any personal attack against Bilongo.
LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted that the comments were “beyond intolerable” and that the deputy should be kicked out of the National Assembly.
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