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Another far-right French councillor fined for comparing Justice Minister Taubira to monkey

media French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira going to a cabinet meeting Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

A French local councillor has been fined 3,000 euros for comparing France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to a monkey in a tweet. He says it was just a joke.

“I don’t understand the reasons for this judgement,” commented Olivier Burlats, a councillor in the village of Seynod in the French Alps. “I just wanted to make a joke.”

A court in the eastern city of Annecy on Friday fined him 3,000 euros for tweeting a photo of a monkey on a bicycle in response to a tweet of Taubira, who usually travels by bike.

His party, the far-right Front National (FN), suspended and then expelled him after the tweet in September.

Since Marine Le Pen became the party’s leader, the FN has been trying to clean up its image by purging members caught making Nazi salutes or blatantly racist statements.

Last year it dropped a local council election candidate, Anne-Sophie Leclere, for making a similar jibe at Taubira.

She is currently appealing against a jail sentence passed by a court in Cayenne.

The Guyana-born justice minister is a favourite target of the French right because of her origins and because she championed the controversial gay marriage law.

The far-right magazine Minute was fined 10,000 euros last month for a cover comparing her to a monkey.

Moroccan-born Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is also in the far right’s sights.

Another hard-right weekly, Valeurs Actuelles, dubbed her a “Moroccan Muslim” and an “Ayatollah”.

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