Last month a French court convicted and fined Franco Lollia, a Black anti-white supremacy activist, for defacing a colonial statue of Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
Lollia’s reasoning, Colbert drafted the Code Noir in the 1680s — a decree approved by King Louis XIV which established the conditions for slavery in the West Indies. The Code Noir contributed to the 12 million Africans who were forcefully removed from their home continent and shipped into slavery in the Americas.
Guy Florentin, Lollia’s attorney, challenged the nation’s justice system for merely being apologists yet still honoring the perpetrators of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade with statues in public spaces.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020, Lollia varnished the phrase “State Negrophobia” in red paint on Colbert’s statue. Negrophobia is defined by fear, hatred, or extreme hostility toward Black people and Black culture.
“We feel deeply insulted. They spit in our face democratically every day with this statue in front of the National Assembly, the so-called house of the people,” Lollia stated.
Despite his and many others’ calls for the removal of the racist statues from public spaces, the court ordered Lollia and his group to pay a fine of 500 Euros ($597) and the damages in the amount of 1,040 Euros ($1,241) to the French Parliament for vandalism.
Attorney Florentin is however making plans to appeal the court’s decision and will continue to ask the French government to remove the controversial and offensive statue.
“State Negrophobia [referring to the French government and its justice system] has won a battle but not the war. We will continue our fight,” Lollia said to the press. “We are also going to sue the authorities for defending crimes against humanity” over the French state’s role in slave trading.
Lollia explained why his group acted so boldly, saying, “One of the reasons for this action, why we did it, was to make this trial a platform. It was to force White French justice to take off its mask of so-called democracy, equality for all and social and racial justice for all.”