French right-wing party head Jean-Francois Copé wrote about the rise of anti-white racism in 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen)
While France has seen its share of race issues, its latest racism trial is not what you might think.
On Friday, the trial of a 29-year-old accused of launching a racially motivated attack against a white man began in Paris, and the case is being backed by a leading anti-racism group in the country.
The incident occurred in a Paris metro station where witnesses said they heard the attacker yell, "sale Français," (meaning dirty Frenchman) and use a term in Arabic meaning dirty white man before assaulting the victim with a broken bottle.
"He was insulted because he was white," Vice-president of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Lirca) Philippe Schmidt told RFI. "I think it's a very strong case. Not only was the attack very violent, he says, but the violence was clearly more intense because the victim was white."
Reports say several people were involved in the attack, but only one is on trial since the others have not yet been identified. The defendant says he was only involved in the fight to protect a friend and has denied any claims of racism.
Anti-white racism has been on the French public’s radar more heavily since last year when Jean-Francois Copé, the head of France’s right-wing political party Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), wrote a book claiming that anti-white racism is on the rise across the country.
"This racism is as unacceptable as every other form of racism — we must denounce it as we condemn all other forms of discrimination," he wrote.
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