Le Pen calls for end of dual nationality for Algerians
France's far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Sunday that dual nationality should be revoked following disturbances after Algeria's last World Cup match, which she claimed showed the "failure" of French immigration policy.
Speaking on a talk show broadcast on French television and radio, National Front leader Le Pen said the country should "put a stop to dual nationality" and suggested people living in France should support it in international competitions and not the country of their heritage.
"What shows the total failure of immigration policies in our country is the refusal expressed by a few people here of dual nationality to assimilate," said Le Pen, who has a position in the European Parliament.
"What is clear is there is a not insignificant number of people that are choosing Algeria over France," she said.
"We should now put an end to dual nationality. You should pick: are you Algerian or French, Moroccan or French, but you cannot be both."
Algerians make up France's largest immigrant group, with close to two million people, and many have dual nationality.
According to Insee, the national statistics agency, there are more than 700,000 people born in Algeria and of Algerian nationality living in France, as well as a million descendants of Algerian immigrants.
On Thursday, after Algeria's historic qualification for the second round of the football World Cup, celebrations turned violent in some places leading French police to arrest 74 people 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.
Algeria's next World Cup match is against Germany on Monday, and the team may play France later in the competition.
- 'I will support France' -
Speaking on "Grand Rendez-vous" on the channel Europe 1, Le Pen said that while she did not think politicians should comment on football, she found the events of Thursday night "eminently shocking" and said she worries 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.
She also said that while not a big football fan herself, "in these big competitions, I try to be patriotic, and if I support anyone, I will support France".
In May's European elections, Le Pen's party came first with 25 percent of the vote, and the FN also did better than expected in local polls in March.
Since becoming leader of the National Front in 2011, Le Pen has been trying to de-toxify the image of the party as a racist and anti-Semitic group.
The group SOS Racisme said it was "grotesque and also dangerous" for Marine Le Pen to use a few isolated incidents to support the National Front's agenda.
Yves Jego, from the centrist UDI party, accused Le Pen of descending into "caricature", and said the comments come from the leader of a party that has a history "of racism and hatred".
© 2014 AFP