Outrage in French parliament as far-right MP shouts ‘go back to Africa’ at black colleague

 Gregoire de Fournas (L) and Carlos Martens Bilongo (ASSEMBLEE NATIONALE/AFP via Gett)
Gregoire de Fournas (L) and Carlos Martens Bilongo (ASSEMBLEE NATIONALE/AFP via Gett)

The Frenchparliament was suspended on Thursday after a black MP was told to “Go back to Africa!” by a far-Right opponent.

Carlos Martens Bilongo, a 31-year-old from a Congolese background, was asking a question about climate change when he was verbally attacked on Thursday afternoon in the Paris National Assembly.

“Go back to Africa!” was heard from the benches of the National Rally – the far-Right party led by Marine Le Pen.

The duty vice-president, the equivalent of the Speaker, immediately asked: ‘Who is the MP who said that phrase? It’s not possible.’

There were chants of ‘Out, out, out!’ by Mr Bilongo’s colleagues, of the left-wing France Insoumis (France Unbowed) party.

Then the culprit was identified as Grégoire de Fournas, the 37-year-old National Rally MP for the Gironde department in south west France.

Mr De Fournas immediately tried to explain himself by saying he had been referring to ‘an African boat’ which had difficulty ‘getting back into port’.

If follows Ms Le Pen, who was runner up in presidential election this year, pledging to change the image of her notoriously racist party, which used to be called the National Front.

It was founded by Ms Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is now a convicted racist and Holocaust denier.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin suggested that Marine Le Pen’s racist party had not changed at all.

Mr Darmanin tweeted ‘Racism of a member of the National Assembly: from the FN to the RN, the name changes, but the hideous references and despicable habits remain. What a disgrace.’

Mr Bilongo accused the RN of targeting him because of the colour of his skin.

He said: “Today, I was reduced to my skin colour. I was born in France, I am a French MP. We see the true face of the National Rally. It’s shameful. I thank all the MP who have united with me’.

Parliamentary authorities meanwhile said there would be a full investigation into Mr De Fournas’s words.

The RN celebrated its 50th birthday earlier this month, with Marine Le Pen saynig it was ‘ready to govern’.

Her party won 89 seats in the National Assembly – its largest number ever, since Jean Marie Le Pen founded the party in 1972.