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French Far-Right MP Hit With Temporary Ban For ''Go Back To Africa'' Shout In Parliament





PARIS, France - The French National Assembly on Friday cut the pay of a far-right lawmaker and temporarily banned him from the chamber for shouting ''Go Back To Africa!'' as a Black legislator was speaking during a parliamentary session.


The remark by Gregoire de Fournas, a lawmaker from Marine Le Pen's opposition Natura Rally (RN), while left-wing MP Carlos Martens Bilongo was asking a question on immigration, triggered an uproar on Thursday, bringing the day's session to a halt.


France's centrist government, the left, and the mainstream right said the remark was an unacceptable racist slur.


The far-right denied that de Fournas had aimed his words at Martens Bilongo, saying he was referring to migrants from Africa currently stranded on an NGO boat in the Mediterranean, and that there was nothing wrong with that.


''Free democratic debates not allow everything..and especially not racism, whoever the target is'', National Assembly President Yael Braun-Pivet said after the assembly voted for the sanctions, with all but RN lawmakers in favour of the move.


Fe Fournas will lose half of his salary for two months and will be banned from entering the assembly for 15 days. It was only the second such sanction imposed by the parliament.


Martens Bilongo, from the leftist France Unbowed party, had called for tough action over what he called ''shameful'' comments.


Hundreds of protesters had gathered in front of parliament on Friday ahead of the sanctions decision.

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