French senator blamed for racism after linking protests to immigration issues

French senator blamed for racism after linking protests to immigration issues

Senator Bruno Retailleau said there is 'ethnic regression' among second and third generation of French citizens of immigrant origins

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) - French Senator Bruno Retailleau is facing criticism over his comments linking the ongoing protests in France to immigration issues.

The head of the Republicans party group in the Senate, Retailleau, on Wednesday told broadcaster Franceinfo that there is an "ethnic regression" among the second and third generation of French citizens of immigrant origins.

Retailleau stressed that there is a relation between the protests over the police killing of Algerian-origin 17-year-old boy Nahel M. and immigration.

The politician was immediately criticized by his left-wing peers.

Mathilde Panot, head of the parliamentary group of the left-wing coalition La France Insoumise (LFI), in a tweet, accused the senator of "crass racism."

The coordinator of LFI, Manuel Bompard, also described those remarks as "racist."

Protests started last week when a police officer shot dead Nahel M. during a traffic check in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre after he allegedly ignored orders to stop.

The officer who fired the fatal shot faces a formal investigation for voluntary homicide and has been placed under preliminary detention.

After starting in Nanterre, the protests quickly spread to other cities, including Lyon, Toulouse, Lille, and Marseille.

Tensions rose following clashes between the police and protesters, before losing steam this week.

The French police arrested 20 more people overnight in nationwide protests, while 55 vehicles and buildings were set on fire, and 81 fires were recorded on the public ways, mostly in trash bins, according to Interior Ministry figures provided to Le Figaro daily.

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