The French National Assembly was suspended on Thursday afternoon, November 3, after a politician was heard shouting “Go back to Africa” during a debate on migrants.
Footage from the debate chamber showed Carlos Martens Bilongo, a member of the left-wing party La France Insoumise (LFI), speaking about Italy’s refusal to provide safe harbor to the 234 migrants aboard the Ocean Viking ship.
According to the National Assembly transcript, Gregoire de Fournas, a member of the far-right party National Rally, interjected, shouting: “They are smugglers,” and later “Qu’il retourne en Afrique!” (“Go back to Africa!”)
Other parliamentary members were heard shouting “racist” and “out” following the latter interjection.
The session was then temporarily suspended by the president.
Bilongo and the LFI issued a statement following the incident, calling for de Fournas to apologize and be removed from the chamber.
De Fournas accused Bilongo’s party of “shameful manipulation”, writing on Twitter that his latter remark was referring to the boat and migrants, not Bilongo. Credit: Assemblee Nationale via Storyful