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Eric Zemmour at the Paris Book Fair, 2012. Wikipedia
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Eric Zemmour committed a crime of opinion

The Paris prosecutor announced on Tuesday that an investigation would be launched against French author Eric Zemmour after his speech on Saturday at the Convention of the Right.

Published: October 3, 2019, 10:51 am

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    Zemmour took part in the much criticized convention, provoking the ire of mainstream journalists, and even those from the more conservative daily, Le Figaro. At the same time, hundreds of viewers lodged complaints with the Superior council of audio-visual (CSA) to protest against the retransmission of his speech live, without filter and in its entirety.

    LCI acknowledged an “error of appreciation” on Sunday. “The distribution of speech in the state was not the appropriate format for our channel,” the direction of the TF1 group said in a statement.

    The current controversy drowned the main part of the speech of the polemicist, reaching its peak on Tuesday, October 1, when the Paris prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation for “public insult” and “public provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence”.

    The Prime Minister in person, Édouard Philippe, condemned the speech as “nauseating and deeply contrary to the idea we have of France and the Republic”.

    The Convention of the Right was organised in Paris by the relatives of former right-wing MP Marion Maréchal. Zemmour delivered his speech,  which was broadcast live by LCI, attacking, among others, the “colonizing” immigrants and “street Islamisation”. He said: “All our problems aggravated by immigration are aggravated by Islam.”

    An investigation was initiated for “public insult on the basis of origin or membership or non-membership of a particular ethnic group, nation, race or religion” and “public provocation to discrimination, hatred or violence against a person or group of persons on the basis of their origin or belonging to or not belonging to a particular ethnic group, nation, race or religion”. The investigations were entrusted to the Human Crime Suppression Brigade (BRDP).

    Zemmour, who was recently convicted for provoking religious hatred, also quoted the writer Renaud Camus, theoretician of the Great Replacement of white and Christian populations by a Muslim immigrant population, and he joked about the strange attire of the spokesperson of the Macron administration Sibeth Ndiaye, calling it the “summit of French distinction”.

    The Superior Audio-Visual Council (CSA) said it received “close to 400” referrals related to this speech.

    French politician Philippe de Villiers denounced the “totalitarian” environment, which prohibits any criticism of totalitarianism.

    “The announcement of the opening of an investigation into the remarks made by Eric Zemmour Saturday in Paris at the Convention of the Right is a worryingly strong signal. It’s probably a turning point. It’s more than a drift.

    “The instigator is the government, the government is Macron, Macron is progressive and therefore progressiveness is totalitarianism. We no longer have the right to be against the PMA [medically assisted procreation], we no longer have the right to criticize immigration, we no longer have the right to have any reservations about Islam.”

    In addition to numerous support tweets from public figures, a petition has been launched in support of the author. A demonstration will also be held in front of Le Figaro this Friday with the objective to allow Eric Zemmour to continue to express himself.

    As soon as his speech at the convention ended, the establishment wanted to silence the author.

    Politicians, media, journalists and commentators demanded the professional death of Eric Zemmour following his speech on Saturday at the Palmeraie. But the defense is being organised around the editor of Le Figaro, which should a priori be able to keep his job at the daily, despite the claims of the Society of Journalists (SDJ) of the newspaper.

    “Eric Zemmour has never been implicated and even less condemned for his writings in Le Figaro. In parallel to his work as a journalist, he has written a dozen books that have met with a very wide success. His public character has its own life, which everyone has known for a long time owes nothing to the Figaro,” said managing editor, Alexis Brézet, to justify his refusal to dismiss the essayist, while stating nevertheless that “Eric Zemmour’s comments, by their deliberately provocative nature, could have shocked a certain number of Le Figaro readers, or editorial journalists. I regret that. I expressed my disapproval to the person concerned, and called him, beyond strict compliance with the law, to the extent required in the exercise of his freedom of expression.”

    On Twitter, under the hashtag #JeSoutiensZemmour support for the editor is being organised.  This Tuesday, a petition was also launched by the right-wing media association Damocles entitled “No to censorship, yes to freedom of expression”.

    But, as reported by Le Point, Zemmour’s close friend Eric Naulleau – who just recently provided him with unflagging support – had very harsh words for his former companion this Wednesday, October 2 on a television show.

    “For me you have crossed all the limits, especially with the comparison between Nazism and Islam (…) It is an insult against all the Muslims of France, against all those who had undergone Nazism. One can not compare a religion with the excesses of a religion. It’s unworthy,” said Eric Naulleau without hesitating.

    But Zemmour insisted: “I have the right to say that. We have the right to criticize a religion.”  But his former friend would not budge, because “there are things we can not do anymore (…) You have lowered yourself to the lowest demagogic level (…) You have gone astray”.

    Marine Le Pen said on Monday her party (RN) had proposed the third place on its list in the European elections to Eric Zemmour , countering information from L’Express that the president of the National Rally had proposed the top of the list.

    “No I did not propose to Eric to be top of the list but 3rd. He can confirm it,” tweeted the head of the RN. According to the weekly magazine, Marine Le Pen asked him, during a luncheon in November 2018, to lead the list of her party.

    But a few weeks later, she informed Zemmour that the RN list would be headed by the young Jordan Bardella and then offered him the 3rd place, a proposition that the polemicist declined. “Being head of the list, I would have thought about it more,” Eric Zemmour told L’Express.

    The president of France Debout, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan was also offered 3rd place in the list, but declined.

    In September 2018, the Superior Audia-Visual Council (CSA) investigated Zemmour for “stigmatizing remarks with regard to the migrants of Muslim confession” in a programme with the polemicist. Eric Zemmour, 60, was also sentenced in 2011 for provocation to hate and in May 2018 for provocation to religious hatred.

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