Black minister compared to a monkey - again - FRANCE - FRANCE 24
Condemnation across the political divide
The publication of the latest taunt has sparked protests across the political spectrum in France.
In a statement released Wednesday, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the Paris prosecutor’s office had opened a racism investigation against the magazine citing French law that forbids racist abuse.
The incendiary cover has been taken off the Minute website since Tuesday afternoon and Twitter has been flooded with outraged messages.
In a Twitter posting on Tuesday, Harlem Désir, leader of the ruling Socialist Party, denounced the “despicable” cover.
Veteran politician Alain Juppé – who served as foreign minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government before the 2012 election – condemned the magazine cover in a Twitter post on Wednesday and demanded “legal repercussions”.
Even the National Front , which supported Minute in the 1970s, condemned the magazine’s cover with the party’s vice-president, Florian Philippot , describing it as "unacceptable and shocking" in an interview on a French TV station.
The public outrage comes as activists warn of a rise in racist incidents in France.
A report by the Paris-based National Consultative Commission of Human Rights (CNCDH) released in March 2013 found that racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim acts and threats in France saw an increase of 23 percent in 2012.
The figures have failed to daunt Le Pen, who described France as “the least racist country in the world” in an interview with FRANCE 24 over the weekend.
Reacting to a question about her party’s former mayoral candidate who compared the country’s justice minister to a monkey, Le Pen shot back, “France is the least racist country in the world. Is that clear?" During her interview with FRANCE 24, France Inter radio and Le Parisien newspaper, Le Pen added that, “French people do not judge people by their skin colour or their origin. As long as people are well behaved and respectful of French people, they have welcomed them. Welcomed too many, in fact.”