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Le Pen taunts rival with 'paedophile' slur

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Le Pen taunts rival with 'paedophile' slur
Marie-Lan Nguyen (file)
09:15 CEST+02:00

The European parliament in Strasbourg became the setting for a heated exchange when two well-known French politicians hurled insults at each other.

The angry exchange took place when Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Green party Euro MP, launched an attack on the honorary president of the far-right Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen, for his stance on the bomb attack and murders that took place in Norway on July 22nd.

"It is intolerable that the European parliament shelters under its wing a parliamentarian who holds views that are both racist and dishonourable," said Cohn-Bendit, who is co-president of the European Greens in the parliament.

Visibly annoyed, Le Pen, who was seated next to his daughter Marine, stood up to launch a counter-attack.

"I said that the Norwegian government was naive because it had not taken security measures and it took an hour and a half for police to get to the crime scene," he said as his daughter, who now leads the Front National, nodded her encouragement. 

"I think it's normal for a European MP to express his opinion about a government that is part of Europe."

"I have been accused by the paedophile Cohn-Bendit," he shouted. "I have the right to say that he was accused here of having sheltered a terrorist from the Red Army Fraction. I have the right to defend my honour!"

Le Pen then had his microphone cut by the president of the parliament, Jerzy Buzek. "You'd think they were Bolsheviks here!" Le Pen continued. 

The paedophile accusation was also made by Marine Le Pen in a 2004 discussion programme. The charge relates to a book written by Cohn-Bendit in 1975 in which he recounted his experiences as a kindergarten teacher in Frankfurt. 

The book, Le Grand Bazar, references the sexual interests of young children and some have taken certain passages to imply that Cohn-Bendit himself became sexually involved with them. He has always fiercely denied this, claiming that the book should be placed in the context of its time and was designed to "shock the bourgeoisie in the 1970s."

"To say I was a paedophile is insane," he said in 2001. "Paedophilia is a crime. Sexual abuse is something that must be fought. There has never been any act of paedophilia on my part."

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