Official claims minister Hortefeux behind racism charges
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A top French official goes to court on Tuesday, accused of making a racist remark while in charge of dialogue with France’s overseas territories. But Girot de Langlade has accused Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux of orchestrating the charges to deflect attention from charges of racism against himself.
De Langlade was in charge of a consultation process with overseas territories after strikes demanding equal treatment with mainland France. But he was suspended from the post after allegedly declaring “You’d think you were in Africa here!” when held up by security checks at Paris’s Orly airport.
One witness swears that he also said, “All you can see are blacks!”
He was on his way back from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion.
Three anti-racist groups launched a formal complaint against him for using racial insults.
Last August de Langlade accused Hortefeux of trying to manipulate the affair so as to appear antiracist after he was accused of the same offence. When his case went to court earlier this month Hortefeux was fined 750 euros.
Hortefeux, who was Minister for Immigration and National Identity until June last year, personally announced de Langlade’s suspension when the first charges were brought.
“I will never tolerate racist or discriminatory remarks being made in our country, especially by a representative of the state,” he declared at the time.
“I would say that the more racist of the two if us is not me,” de Langlade commented afterwards, while his lawyer points out ahead of the court case that, “Mr Hortefeux has already been found guilty, unlike my client.”