Paris: Dismay at racist heckling in the French Parliament

A racist incident has caused outrage in the French Parliament in Paris.

Paris: Dismay at racist heckling in the French Parliament

A racist incident has caused outrage in the French Parliament in Paris. The meeting was canceled on Thursday afternoon after an interjection by a member of the right-wing national Rassemblement National and was adjourned to Friday.

Parliamentarians from other groups called for tough sanctions against right-wing MP Grégoire de Fournas. While the black MP Carlos Martens Bilongo was speaking at the lectern about a ship with refugees that was blocked in the Mediterranean, he had called out: "Return to Africa."

Martens Bilongo immediately replied: "Certainly not." There was a great uproar in Parliament and many MPs shouted "out", "out" in the direction of the heckler. Martens Bilongo spoke of a shame after the meeting was called off. "Today I was reduced to the color of my skin. I was born in France, I'm a French MP," he said. The heckling reveals the true face of the Rassemblement National.

The right-wing deputy spoke of a misunderstanding after the scandal. With his heckling, he referred to the refugees on the boat and not to his left-wing parliamentary colleagues. There was no apology from him at first.

Politicians from the other parties condemned the incident in the strongest possible terms. "Racism has no place in our democracy," said Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, as reported by broadcaster BFMTV. "What a shame," wrote Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on Twitter.

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