French government dissolves Identitarians

The French government has dissolved the organization Génération identitaire (Identitarian Movement). Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin justified the move in a statement by saying that the group had called for “discrimination, hatred and violence”.

“This association and some of its activists should be regarded as promoting hate speech, inciting discrimination or violence against individuals because of their origin, their race and their religion” and, “by its form and its military organization” GI “can be regarded as presenting the character of a private militia,” Darmanin declared in the decree of dissolution.

Darmanin had initiated the ban process in February already. The reason for this was, among other things, an action by the group who had symbolically blocked a mountain pass in the Pyrenees. In doing so, they protested against illegal immigration.

The Identitarian Movement had carried out similar campaigns under the motto “Defend Europe” in the Alps over the past few years. Several members had been charged and initially convicted. However, they were acquitted again on appeal in December.

The Génération identitaire originated in France in the early nineties. Among other things, the Identitarian Movement Austria and Germany emerged from it.

Génération Identitaire wanted to take one last public action before its dissolution but they were prevented from doing so by the police who carried out rigorous identity checks. “We have not committed any illegal act,” Thaïs D’Escufon told the media, citing the conditions which elicited the identity checks of GI members in the park where the activists are being held by the police.

A few hours before the officialization of this dissolution, activists had gathered at the Louis-Philippe bridge, in Paris. In particular, they wanted to deploy a banner which read: “A generation cannot be dissolved”. They were prevented from doing so by numerous police officers who carried out the identity checks and then escorted them back to the metro.

Lawyers close to GI said on social media that the ban had no legal base after the Interior Ministry had noted that the association received donations from Brenton Tarrant, the perpetrator of the Christchurch (New Zealand) attack which killed 51 people in March 2019. During his hearing in April 2019, by the parliamentary commission of inquiry on extreme right-wing groups, the former director of Tracfin Bruno Dalles had affirmed that Brendon Tarrant was a “benefactor member” of GI.

The group’s lawyer, Pierre-Vincent Lambert, immediately announced his intention to file an appeal with the Council of State for abuse of power, as well as a summary to cancel the suspension, reported Le Parisien. Two priority questions of constitutionality will also be submitted by the association. “The battle for activism is over, it’s time for the legal battle,” argued Clément Martin, one of the spokespersons for the association, who criticized the “legally flawed” decision taken by the authorities. He added that “the fight against Islamization is not carried out by us only, since other political parties are also opposed to it”.

The dissolution of Génération identitaire comes as the Interior Ministry has, in recent months, closed down three associations described as close to the “Islamist movement” (CCIF, BarakaCity, and the Cheikh Yassine collective) in the wake of the assassination of Samuel Paty in October 2020, and that of the Turkish ultranationalist group of “Gray Wolves”.

French philosopher Michel Onfray commented recently on illegal immigration in an interview with CNews: “The real revolution that should take place, is to enforce respect for French law. When there are undocumented immigrants, we tell them ‘stay anyway’.”

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