French far-right figure sparks outrage over Norway attacks
The founder of France's far-right National Front sparked growing outrage on Sunday with claims that the Norwegian government's "naivety" was to blame for the recent mass killing there.
Jean-Marie Le Pen had accused Norway of not correctly handling immigration, one of the the French far-right party's main policy issues which was also cited by the Norwegian self-confessed mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik.
"The murderous consequences seem to me much more linked to the naivety of the Norwegian state than the madness of this crazy person," Le Pen told AFP on Saturday, standing by his earlier comments about immigration.
The French National Front and other European far-right parties had distanced themselves from Behring Breivik, who has confessed to carrying out the bombing and shooting attacks that killed 77 people in and near Oslo on July 22.
The Front suspended one of its members, Jacques Coutela, this week for defending Behring Breivik in a blog.
Le Pen's daughter Marine, who has aimed to give the party a friendlier face since she took over the leadership of the National Front (FN) from him in January, has not commented publicly about her father's claims.
Mainstream politicians reacted with outrage on Sunday to the comments, urging the party leader to condemn them.
"Behind the change of first-name at the head of the FN, the political line remains the same," said a senior member of the ruling centre-right UMP party, Valerie Rosso-Debord.
Marine Le Pen "has to leave aside any ambiguity -- she who has talked about de-demonising the party," said Pierre Moscovici, a leading deputy in the opposition Socialist party.
The Socialists' leader Martine Aubry said Le Pen senior's comments "play down the savage crimes in Norway and stain the memory of the victims."
© 2011 AFP