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Dublin: 3 °C Friday 17 January, 2020

Macron jokes about marijuana during tense State visit to French Guiana

Macron has made controversial comments in the past about French colonies.

Emmanuel Macron and French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer during a visit to Maripasoula.
Emmanuel Macron and French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer during a visit to Maripasoula.
Image: Pool/ABACA

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron sniffed a whiff of marijuana during his visit to the overseas territory of French Guiana, he joked: “I still have a nose”.

“So, there are some of you who do not only smoke cigarettes, huh?” he said to laughter after posing for photos with locals in the Crique neighbourhood of capital Cayenne last night.

“That will not help with your schoolwork,” he could be heard telling the smokers in one of a series of videos posted on the presidential Facebook page.

“You have to tell the youngest!” he said.

Macron wraps up his 48-hour visit to the impoverished South American territory, which borders northern Brazil, today.

Clashes Between Police And Demonstrators - Cayenne Clashes between police and demonstrators of the collective Pou Lagwiyann Dekole that took place this week. Source: Blondet Eliot/ABACA

He said he was “not Father Christmas” after facing demonstrations at the start of his trip, which came six months after a wave of protests erupted about security problems and unemployment.

Many locals feel they are overlooked by the government in Paris, with unemployment at 23%, massive illegal immigration, pot-holed roads and poor public infrastructure compared with mainland France.

Macron came under criticism before for making strong comments against French colonialism, and for saying that people in Africa “lack civilisation” shortly after being elected as French President

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha. © – AFP 2017

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