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France’s Le Pen calls for end of dual nationality in Algeria World Cup row

© AFP (archive photo)

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-30

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Sunday that riots following Algeria’s World Cup win on Thursday proved that French immigration policy had failed.

Delirious celebrations in France when Algeria qualified for the the second round of the World Cup turned violent in some French cities.

Police said some 74 people had been arrested for rioting and looting. The central city of Lyon was particularly hard-hit, with shops looted, several dozen cars set on fire and firefighters assaulted, according to the interior ministry.

According to Le Pen, whose National Front (FN) party wants to slash immigration from North Africa, Thursday’s trouble demonstrated “the total failure of immigration policies in our country and the refusal expressed by a number of bi-national citizens to assimilate."

She suggested those holding dual nationality should support France in international tournaments and not their country of origin.

"Now we must put a stop to dual nationality," she said.

Algerians make up France's largest immigrant group, with close to two million people, and many hold dual citizenship.

"You should pick: are you Algerian or French, Moroccan or French, but you cannot be both," Le Pen said. 

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, she said it was not the place of politicians to comment on football, but she said she found the events of Thursday night "eminently shocking" and was worried about the "consequences of matches played by Algeria on my compatriots".

"There is not another country in the world that would accept what we go through on our territory," she said.

‘Not proud to be French’

Since becoming leader of the National Front in 2011, Le Pen has been trying to clean up the image of the party as a racist and anti-Semitic group.

She led her party to first place in May European elections with 25 percent of the vote in France and the National Front also did better than expected in local polls in March.

Le Pen has spoken out against dual citizenship laws before. In 2010, she called for reform on the grounds that it "undermines" republican values.

The group SOS Racisme said it was "as dangerous as it is concerning" for Marine Le Pen to use a few isolated incidents to support the National Front's anti-immigrant agenda.

Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, of the centre-right opposition UMP party, said Le Pen's proposal "would change nothing," adding that it was "not a legal problem."

"It is a failure of integration policies, and now we have a generation that is not proud to be French," he told RTL's Grand Jury television show.

Algeria are due to face Germany on Monday night to play for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, following France's match against Nigeria.

If both teams win they will face each other in the quarter finals.

The interior ministry said there would be a huge Police presence across France during the games, equal to the deployment for major protests and for the July 14 "Bastille Day" celebrations.  

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-06-30

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