The leader of France’s far-right National Front party, Marine Le Pen, was stripped of her parliamentary immunity, opening the way for charges of inciting racial hatred to be laid against her.
Ms Le Pen, 44, is a member of the European Parliament, which lifted her immunity at the request of a French prosecutor who wants to place her under investigation after she compared the holding of Muslim street prayers with the Nazi “occupation” of France.
The far-right leader repeated her comments, first made in 2010 in Lyon, on Monday. Anticipating the MEPs’ decision, which she had expected after an earlier committee decision to lift her immunity, Ms Le Pen said she was a “dissident” and defended her “freedom of speech”.
In a separate incident, President François Hollande has sacked his Environment Minister Delphine Batho, for describing the 2014 budget as a “bad one” for her ministry.