Three Front National municipal councillors in the French city of Limoges are to be prosecuted after writing an article in a local magazine highlighting an assault on a hospital worker allegedly committed by a newly arrived migrant.
The three politicians were charged with “provocation to racial hatred” this week after the case was brought to court by the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism (Licra), Franceinfo reports.
The article, which was signed by the three politicians, came in response to an alleged assault of hospital staff at the Hospital Centre University de Limoges, which some claimed had been carried out by a migrant.
In their article, the three politicians described the perpetrator of the alleged assault saying they were “one of our new inhabitants, invited by our governments, housed, fed, helped, cared for, all for free, with a little bit of pocket money”.
The public prosecutor justified the case calling aspects of the article “xenophobic and racist literature” and the lawyer for LICRA added: “These are not bearable statements by elected officials of the Republic.”
Vincent Gérard, one of the three defendants, said he was “unpleasantly surprised by certain accusations because of the content and the symbolism of certain words that I totally refute, as ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’”. A judgement in the case is expected in June.
Hate speech cases have been directed against Front National, or allies of the party, in the recent past. Mayor of Beziers Robert Ménard who was fined 2,000 euros for noting demographic changes in local schools by saying: “In a class in the city centre of my town, 91 per cent of the children are Muslims. Obviously, this is a problem. There are limits to tolerance.”