French far-right official barred for Islamophobic remarks

A vandalised campaign poster for far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, May 5, 2017, in Paris.
A vandalised campaign poster for far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, May 5, 2017, in Paris.PHOTO: AFP

RENNES, France (AFP) - France's far-right National Front on Friday (May 5) suspended a member for making anti-Muslim remarks, officials said, two days before a presidential run-off pitting FN leader Marine Le Pen against centrist rival Emmanuel Macron.

Catherine Blein, a councillor in the north-west Brittany region for the FN, "has been disavowed," said Odile de Mellon, a local FN official, adding that the party had barred Blein from standing in next month's legislative elections.

The move came after the BuzzFeed news site reported on Friday that Blein had been posting xenophobic and anti-gay remarks on her Facebook and Twitter accounts for years.

Le Pen, who has sought to purge the party of its xenophobic image, reached Sunday's second-round run-off against Macron with 21.3 per cent of the vote in the first round.

Macron has a 22-point lead over Le Pen going into the final showdown, according to the latest polls.

Buzzfeed cited several examples of Blein's Tweets and Facebook posts.

A June 2015 Tweet read: "Shame on Islam, which must be eradicated from our soil as a precaution."

Last month, she complained after a gay policeman slain by an Islamic militant on Paris' Champs Elysees was eulogised by his partner at a memorial service led by President Francois Hollande.

"Any pretext is used to bring homosexuality into our lives," she wrote on Twitter.

Blein told BuzzFeed that she believed France faced a "grand replacement" in which the majority white population would gradually be replaced by non-white immigrants.

Following the BuzzFeed article, Blein doubled down on her views, writing on Facebook: "When we fight for France we are also fighting for you."