Marine Le Pen Faces “Hate Speech” Charges




French authorities have asked the European Parliament to lift the immunity of FN-Front National leader Marine Le Pen, an elected MEP, so that she can be prosecuted for “inciting racial hatred” a request that Le Figaro says is expected to be voted through by a parliamentary majority on Tuesday (July 2).  

Marine Le Pen faces “racial hatred” charges after, in the name of French secularism, denouncing Muslims for praying in the streets of Paris, Lyon and other main cities.

The charges relate to remarks made in late 2010 when she likened Muslim street prayers in France to the Nazi occupation during the Second World War and in turn sparked a considerable uproar. Elected to the European Parliament in 2004, Marine Le Pen is being pursued by the prosecutor of Lyon on charges of  “inciting racial hatred” after he received a complaint from an unidentified person(s) following her speech , according to an Agence France Presse report.

It may say something about the robustness of the complaint that this action is only being taken now, two and a half years after the event and at a time when the ruling Socialist administration has been shocked to the core by the outcome of a by-election in the onetime Socialist bastion of Villeneuve-sur-Lot. In the election the FN took 46% of the vote and won over many former Socialist working class supporters.  Marine le Pen told AFP she was expecting to win her case if it came to court, on the basis of her right to free speech. 

Meanwhile apparently unfazed by the charges, she told the London  based  Daily Telegraph newspaper that if elected president she would abandon the euro  and reclaim French sovereignty.  “Mrs Le Pen said her first order of business on setting foot in the Elysee Palace will be to announce a referendum on EU membership. ‘I will negotiate over the points on which there can be no compromise. If the result is inadequate, I will call for withdrawal,’ she said. For her the four sticking points are the French currency, border control, the primacy of French law, and what she calls ‘economic patriotism’, the power for France to pursue ‘intelligent protectionism’ and safeguard it social model. ‘I cannot imagine running economic policy without full control over our own money,’ she said. Asked if she intends to pull France of the euro immediately, she said: ‘Yes, because the euro blocks all economic decisions. France is not a country that can accept tutelage from Brussels,’ she said.”

Her plans are reportedly based on research by economists from l’École des Hautes Études in Paris led by Professor Jacques Sapir. This concludes that France, Italy, and Spain would all benefit greatly from exiting the euro, restoring lost labour competitiveness at a stroke without years of depression. They say that attempts to reverse North-South imbalances by deflation and wage cuts must entail mass unemployment and loss of the industrial core. The current strategy of internal devaluation is self-defeating in any case, since recession causes debt ratios to climb faster.

Marine Le Pen has featured in two major interviews on foreign networks recently proffering very similar messages about her party’s bright election prospects and her anti-EU analysis of France’s problems and how to solve them.

The first was with Al Jazeera below and the second was on July 1 with RT-Russia Today. Watch the RT broadcast here.

According to Al Jazeera a broadcaster owned by the privately held Al Jazeera Media Network and funded by Quatar:  “Many Muslim leaders have blamed Marine Le Pen’s fiery rhetoric on Islam and immigration for (what they claim to be) a rise in Islamic intolerance and xenophobia in France. She insists she is neither a racist nor xenophobic, but simply a patriot.”

In the episode below of the broadcaster’s Talk to Al Jazeera series Folly Bah Thibault sat down with Marine Le Pen in the European Parliament in Strasbourg for a wide ranging conversation that covers her thoughts on Islam and immigration in Europe.

Talk to Al Jazeera : Marine Le Pen: The threat of radical Islam
Published on Dec 17, 2012

In her RT interview she said: “the ‘ultra-liberal model’ had been ‘imported from and imposed by the United States…which destroys economies and denies the people the riches that they themselves have created, and denies nations their sovereignty,’ firmly believing it is not in France’s interests to pursue it.

‘Things are getting worse and worse, and these two movements managed to turn one of the world’s richest countries, France, into a bankrupt country with a rocketing unemployment rate, with poverty that continues to rise, with a real feeling of despair, and with a culture that is collapsing,’ she said.

“Le Pen proposed tighter border controls on the country, which she described as ‘bankrupt’ and ‘with a rocketing unemployment rate’ – something she has partially ascribed to immigration risks and an economic model imported from the United States. Le Pen said that border controls were important not just in terms of human traffic, but in terms of capital flow and products too.

“However, the human element retains special importance for Le Pen. She believes that stricter measures need to be taken to ensure France’s success as a nation as it strikes a balance between manual and intellectual work.”

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com 

 

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