French President Macron says he won’t remove colonial-era statues

World

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. After agreeing on terms for a new Brexit deal, European Union leaders are meeting again to discuss other thorny issues including the bloc’s budget and climate change. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to stand firm against racism, but also praised police and insisted that France wouldn’t take down statues of controversial, colonial-era figures.

Sunday’s speech was the first time Macron has spoken on the issues since George Floyd’s death in the U.S. unleashed protests around the world. They include several in France, where demonstrators have expressed anger at racial injustice and police brutality, particularly toward minorities from France’s former colonies in Africa.

Unusually for a French leader, Macron acknowledged that someone’s “address, name, color of skin” can reduce their chances at succeeding in French society.

He called for a fight to ensure that everyone can “find their place” regardless of ethnic origin or religion.

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