“Justice pour Lola”: the right wing’s politicisation of a young girl’s murder
Josie Sharp discusses the “Justice pour Lola” protests, and sheds light on how right-wing French political parties are exploiting the death of a 12-year-old girl as fuel for anti-immigration discourse.
On 14 October the body of a 12-year-old girl was found in a suitcase in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. The coroner concluded that she had been asphyxiated and raped. The main suspect for this aggressive murder is a 24-year-old Algerian woman whose sister lived in the same apartment building as Lola’s family.
The woman, who had been known to have a history of psychological disorders, has been arrested and been held in provisional custody for Lola’s murder. Meanwhile, extreme right-wing political parties have begun to blame the ‘lax’ immigration policies for the murder as she had outstayed her visa, and had been ordered to leave the country only two months earlier.
The anti-immigrant sentiment is particularly strong in Paris, Lyon and Rennes where demonstrations have taken place – bearing banners displaying Lola’s photograph with captions such as “Justice for Lola” and “Immigration Kills.”
Extreme right-wing political parties have begun to blame the ‘lax’ immigration policies for the murder
Several of these protests have resulted in violent clashes; one in Rennes met an opposed left-wing demonstration, rallying against the rising hate towards immigrants. In Pessac, a city near Bordeaux, a mosque was found defaced by early morning worshippers with the phrases “Laxist State” and “Nationalist Revenge” spray painted on the walls.
The leaders of many political parties have commented on the events of Lola’s murder and the aftermath, including Éric Zemmour, leader of the nationalist party. Éric has been very vocal on social media showing his support towards the protests, calling this murder a “francocide” and commenting on how immigrants are now becoming a threat to French citizens. The use of the word “francocide” gained lots of traction on social media especially for those who were protesting these past few months.
The use of the word “francocide” gained lots of traction on social media especially for those who were protesting these past few months.
Furthermore, ‘National Front’ leader Marine Le Pen described this murder as “one too many” calling for more direct action against illegal immigrants and more control over the deportation offices by Emanuel Macron.
Less than 10 per cent of deportation orders (OQTFs) were followed through in 2019. When questioned on this after Lola’s death Le Pen stated that it was insufficient, aiming to tighten immigrant laws. Even the French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti made a comment on the protests, stating that the right-wing extremists were “using a 12-year-old kid’s coffin like you would a stepping stool” to stricter immigrant laws.
Lola’s family lawyer asks that the public should respect the family’s wishes to be respectful and to not politicise the death of their daughter. This has consequently caused an increase in press interest regarding the burial of their daughter. However, these wishes have been ignored as the wave of anti-immigrant hate continues to spread across France.