Published: 03 Oct 2012 17:04 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 03 Oct 2012 17:04 GMT+02:00
A French Jewish student group said Wednesday it had filed a legal complaint against far-right icon Jean-Marie Le Pen after he made a pun during a speech comparing Roma to thieves.
The French Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) filed the complaint for "provoking racial hatred" and "racial defamation" with a court in the western town of Saint-Nazaire, near where the speech was made.
In the speech Le Pen, founder of the National Front party, described Roma as "birds who fly away naturally", using the French verb "voler" which means both to fly and to steal.
The September 22nd speech at the party's annual conference was attended by Le Pen's daughter Marine, the National Front's current leader.
In a statement, the UEJF denounced the comment because it "compares the Roma people to a flock of delinquents".
"By using the word 'naturally'," the statement added, "Jean-Marie Le Pen maintains that the Roma are thieves because of their ethnicity."
Tensions over the Roma population in France are high after the Socialist government recently launched a campaign of closing Roma encampments around the country.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has several convictions for racism and anti-Semitism, shocked Europe in 2002 by coming in second in the French presidential elections.
The court will examine the complaint on February 5th.
A French soldier has been stabbed while on patrol in Paris but President Francois Hollande said the attack could not "at this stage" be linked to the murder of a military man in London. READ () »
Yannick Noah believes that none of the current crop of French tennis players are capable of matching his exploit in winning the French Open 30 years ago. READ () »
IMF chief Christine Lagarde's future was at stake Friday as French prosecutors grilled her for a second day to decide if she should be charged over a state payout to a disgraced tycoon when she was finance minister. READ () »
A French anti-racism association is launching a mobile application it hopes will help eradicate racist graffiti by enabling users to take photos of offensive tags, geo-locate them and get them removed. READ () »
When it comes to fighting off the invasion of English words the French Resistance has had mixed fortunes over the years. Nevertheless the fight goes on. With the help of the Ministry of Culture here's a list of the latest English terms that French authorities want deported. READ () »
The streets of Paris are getting a reputation for being unsafe for tourists and this is a threat to business for the great brand names of French fashion, a top body representing the luxury industry warned on Friday. READ () »
Rights watchdog Amnesty International has filed its end of year report on French President François Hollande's record on tackling human rights issues. Its conclusion was: Could do better. READ () »
The dangerous craze of ‘train surfing', which has long been popular in Russia, came to France this week and ended in tragic circumstances. A young man who was reportedly riding the roof of a Paris Metro was killed when the train entered a tunnel. READ () »
The purchase of the famous upmarket French department store Printemps by investors from Qatar needs to be investigated by authorities for possible corruption, money laundering and tax fraud, unions demanded this week. READ () »
The proposal was labelled by critics as another example of France's Socialist government attacking the richest. But after a u-turn announced on Friday the plan to limit executive pay in the private sector will not now see the light of day. READ () »