“Pitiful”, “unforgivable”: Eric Zemmour attracted a general bronca, Saturday, after having denounced “the obsession with the inclusion” of children with disabilities and defended “specialized establishments” to educate them, before qualifying his remarks.
Friday, during a discussion with teachers committed to his cause in Honnecourt-sur-Escaut (North), the far-right candidate explained “to think that ‘we do indeed need specialized establishments, except for people with slight disabilities of course”.
“As for the rest, yes, I think that the obsession with inclusion is a bad way for other children and for those children who are, the poor, completely overwhelmed by the other children. So I think that we need specialized teachers who take care of them, “he said.
The Secretary of State for Disability Sophie Cluzel castigated Saturday on Twitter “a pitiful statement”. “Very angry” on BFMTV, she criticized a “miserable” and “exclusive” vision of disability.
“Of course it’s complicated, but it’s really the honor of France to be able to educate these children with others, in the midst of others”, she added .
The leader of the LR deputies, Damien Abad, himself with a disability, denounced “scandalous” remarks by Eric Zemmour and “segregation on all floors”.
“Yes, we must be obsessed with inclusion. I ask for a public apology”, he launched on Twitter.
The candidate of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, for her part considered it “unforgivable” to “attack children weakened by a handicap”.
“My project is more inclusion for fragile children”, engaged Valérie Pécresse on the sidelines of a trip to Greece, castigating “the brutality” of Eric Zemmour’s remarks .
Same tone of the candidates on the left: “He is as always in excess, violence and insult”, slammed the now declared candidate Anne Hidalgo, Jean-Luc Mélenchon lambasting ” a vision of the world opposed” to his. And the communist Fabien Roussel said he was “revolted by the proposal” by Eric Zemmour, comparing it to an “apartheid society”.
– “Take care of it better” –
Reactions were also strong in associations: the national president of the Association for adults and young people with disabilities, Jean-Louis Garcia, was moved on BFMTV by what he considers to be a “segregation”, a “set apart”, while the president of SOS autisme France Olivia Cattan was “indignant” at remarks deemed “discriminatory” and a “misunderstanding” of the candidate Zemmour on the subject. Both refer to the law of 2005 which guarantees equal opportunities for children with disabilities.
French journalist and president of the SOS Autisme France association Olivia Cattan on October 1 2020 in Courbevoie, in the Hauts-de-Seine (AFP/Archives – ALAIN JOCARD)The president of the Association for taking disability into account in public and private policies (APHPP), Matthieu Annereau, also elected local LREM and blind, estimated that “the exclusion of 12 millions of people with disabilities in France mentioned by Mr. Zemmour (was) deeply nauseating”.
Faced with the bronca, the former polemicist explained himself and nuanced his remarks on Saturday morning in Villers-Cotterêts ( Aisne). “Of course, there are cases where putting them in an ordinary establishment is a good thing because it allows them to progress, to socialize. And then there are other cases, real, more numerous than no one says it, where it is a suffering for these “disabled” children.
“What I wanted to say is that I don’t want the obsession with inclusion robs us and leads us to neglect the need for specialized institutions,” he continued. “I think it’s an ideological position, as always. We decided it was better to put everyone together. I don’t think so”, “not to put them aside but to take care of it better”.
The presidential candidate called for “taking into account the particular cases” of each child, with the possibility of “bridges” between “specialized establishments” and “ordinary” .
Eric Zemmour cut short his visit to Aisne on Saturday and canceled his visit to Chateau-Thierry due, according to those around him, to the last minute impediment of a guest.