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French Minister’s Comments Evoke Nazis, Opposition Lawmaker Says

French government ministers and ruling party lawmakers walked out of a National Assembly session after an opposition member said recent comments by Interior Minister Claude Gueant echoed Nazi ideology.

“You bring us back to the European ideologies that created concentration camps,” Serge Letchimy, an independent affiliated with the Socialist Party, told Gueant in the chamber today. Letchimy cited “Nazi” ideology as ruling lawmakers and ministers stood up and left the assembly in a loud protest. The weekly question time was subsequently suspended.

Gueant, who was President Nicolas Sarkozy’s chief of staff until last year, told a student conference last week that “contrary to what the relativism of the left says, for us all civilizations are not equal.”

Gueant also said that “those that defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those that accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred,” according Agence France-Presse.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that “some comparisons shame those who say them,” according to a statement he issued after the spat today. “The martyrdom of World War II victims cannot be overused for partisanship.”

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