French prime minister condemns racist heckle in parliament
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne declared "racism has no place in our democracy," French news channel BFMTV reported.
The French interior minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter, "What a shame."
Earlier, President Emmanuel Macron had commented on the incident. The president of the republic was "hurt" by the "intolerable" remarks made Thursday by a deputy from the right-wing Rassemblement National party, and he expressed his support for the "offended" deputy from the left-wing La France insoumise party, the daily Ouest France reported.
In Thursday's incident, Rassemblement National MP Grégoire de Fournas had shouted several times, "That he/they should go back to Africa," during a speech by dark-skinned MP Carlos Martens Bilongo. As a result, the meeting was canceled and adjourned.
De Fournas justified himself, saying there had been a misunderstanding. He had referred to the refugees on the boat and not Bilongo, said the politician from Rassemblement National. He did not want to apologize for this at first.
In the original French, the politician had said: "qu'ils retournent en Afrique" or "qu'il retourne en Afrique" - that can be translated as both plural, that is, "that they (the refugees) should return to Africa."
But also in the singular: "that he (Bilongo) should return to Africa."