Robert Menard, far-right French mayor, 'to be tried on hate charges'
A far-right French mayor is to be tried on hate charges over comments that include a claim the number of Muslim students in his city was a "problem", media and judicial sources say.
Robert Menard will face charges of incitement to hatred or discrimination. Media say the trial is set for 8 March.
He has denied that his remarks were discriminatory.
The Beziers mayor is an ally of the anti-immigrant National Front party led by Marine Le Pen.
The case is centred on two statements from the mayor, Le Monde newspaper (in French) reports.
On 1 September, France's first day back at school, he said on Twitter he was witnessing the "great replacement", a widely used term to describe the alleged eviction of the country's white and Christian population by Muslims in parts of France.
Then, on 5 September, he said on French news channel LCI: "In a class in the city centre of my town, 91% of the children are Muslims. Obviously, this is a problem. There are limits to tolerance."
French law prohibits any gathering of data based on people's religious beliefs or ethnicity.
Mr Menard defended his comments, saying: "I just described the situation in my town... It is not a value judgement, it's a fact. It's what I can see."
He prompted outrage among opponents in October by putting up anti-migrant posters and calling for a local referendum ahead of the arrival of asylum-seekers in his southern French town, AFP news agency reports.
Under the headline "That's It, They're Coming", is an image of a crowd of migrants, all of them men, outside the cathedral in Beziers.
Mr Menard was for 23 years the head of the media rights group, Reporters Without Borders.