President Francois Hollande denounced Le Pen’s comments, saying, according to AFP, “Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate, and we must apply the rules, the only rules that we know, the rules of the Republic and secularism.” Jean-Francois Cope, who leads the right-wing UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, said Le Pen showed little understanding of France’s much-vaunted secular traditions. “Marine Le Pen wants to ban any signs of religion on the street, starting with the veil and the kippah,” AFP quoted him as having said. “By doing this, she shows she understands nothing of secularism. Secularism is not the eradication of all religious expressions in society.”
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