6 Apr 2018
French conservative politician Nicholas Dupont-Aignan, who gave his support to anti-mass migration presidential candidate Marine Le Pen last year, has been given a suspended fine of 5,000 euros for speaking about a “migrant invasion”.
Mr. Dupont-Aignan made the comments on January 17, 2017, during his own run for the French presidency before he was knocked out after the first round vote. He had said: “In 2016, the Socialists compensate for the decline in birth rate by the migratory invasion. This is now!” Le Figaro reports.
On Wednesday, a court in Paris found the conservative guilty of provocation to hatred or discrimination with a suspended 5,000 euro fine being handed down. The case was brought to the court by the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) which claimed Dupont-Aignan’s parliamentary immunity should not apply in the case.
“We have a leading politician, declared candidate for the presidential election, who quietly takes, publicly, on his own account a conspiracy and racist theory born in the depths of the French far right at the beginning of the previous decade,” the prosecutor in the case said.
The “racist theory” the prosecutor mentioned is the theory of the “Great Replacement” coined by prolific French author Renaud Camus who has railed against mass migration for years.
The “Great Replacement” was also invoked by Mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard after he was also taken to court for hate speech. Ménard commented on the fact that a school in his city had a 91 per cent Muslim student population and later tweeted: “These classes represent the most striking proof of the #GreatReplacement in progress. Just look at old class photos.”
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Strasbourg Luc Ravel also invoked the term last July stating: “Muslim believers know very well that their birthrate is such that today, they call it … the Great Replacement, they tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, ‘one day all this, it will be ours.’”
One of the lawyers for Dupont-Aignan, who supported Marine Le Pen in the second round of last year’s presidential election, defended the conservatives right to free speech arguing: “The purpose of this tweet is not to call people to vote for the Socialist candidate, that’s all.”