France anger after MP shares letter with racist death threats

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Laetitia Avia campaigns on 18 May 2017Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Laetitia Avia is a lawmaker from President Macron's En Marche movement

A French lawmaker has filed a formal complaint after receiving a letter with racist insults and death threats.

Laetitia Avia, whose parents are from Togo, posted the offensive text on Twitter and said she had never experienced such racism.

The 32-year-old has received widespread support with Interior Minister Gérard Collomb condemning the "heinous racist attack".

It comes amid heightened concerns about enduring intolerance in France.

Warning: The following article contains offensive language

The letter sent to Ms Avia, a member of France's National Assembly from President Emmanuel Macron's En Marche movement, said: "We're not going to let a fat black swine from Africa meddle in the lives of the French."

It said "your media appearances make us sick".

"You'd be better off working on behalf of retarded African people, who can only think about squeezing money from France."

In her post, Ms Avia used the hashtag #NeRienLaisserPasser, meaning "don't give an inch", in reference to a government campaign condemning violence against women.

Among those who condemned the letter was France's gender equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, who denounced the "unacceptable racism and sexism".

"There is no justification for such violence," she said.

Ms Avia thanked the support she had had on Twitter, where her name became a trending topic in France.

Last year, lawmaker Sacha Houlié, also from En Marche, received a letter with a threat from a man who claimed to be a pensioner.

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