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Chega’s far-right deputy calls for black MP to be “sent back” after art pillaging bill proposal

racist chegaPortugal’s only far-right deputy sparked outrage today after saying a black member of parliament should be “sent back to her country of origin”.

Daily newspaper Publico slammed Andre Ventura’s comments as “abject” in its editorial, after his attack on Joacine Katar Moreira, of the left-wing Livre party. Other left-wing deputies have also come out to condemn his comments.

Katar Moreira, who was born in Guinea Bissau, a former Portuguese colony in West Africa, had introduced a bill Tuesday calling for Lisbon to return works of art from Portugal’s former colonies to their countries of origin. She suggested the authorities draw up a list of works of art that Portugal should hand back.

Ventura, leader and only standing MP of the far-right party Chega, hit back on Facebook, writing: “I propose that the deputy Joacine is herself sent back to her country of origin. It would be a lot better for everyone.”

Moreira is the Livre party’s only deputy, and on Tuesday criticized the “constant personal attacks of a racist nature” against her which she claims to have experienced throughout her political career. Other parties, including deputies of Costa’s Socialist Party and the far-left Left Bloc also attacked Ventura’s comments as racist.

Mr. Ventura was elected to parliament last October as first far-right deputy since the fall of the Salazar’s military dictatorship in 1974 and the return of democracy. Since then, he has launched regular attacks on black and Roma individuals.

Katar Moreira’s proposal is built similarly to an initiative by the French government, which has begun returning works of art pillaged from its former colonies. French President Emmanuel Macron has called on other European countries to consider their position on the issue, including Belgium, Britain and Germany, as have a number of their former colonies.

Portugal’s Justice Minister has also condemned far-right lawmaker Mr. Ventura today for his social media post slamming his black fellow MP with dual Portuguese-Guinean citizenship.

Portugal’s Angolan-born Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem said in a speech that lawmaker Andre Ventura’s comments were “an example of the xenophobic discourse which has begun to invade our institutional spaces and now arrived in parliament.”

Moreira is one of three black members of parliament, and has presented various policy proposals on tackling racism and colonial legacies in Portugal.

An unrepentant Ventura has told TSF radio: “She is constantly attacking our history and defending foreign interests. If she acts like that she may as well leave.” Still, he said his comment was “obviously ironic” as he was not referring to physical deportation.