France mulls banning radical anti-gay marriage group
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French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday he is considering banning French Spring - a radical far right group opposed to the country’s legalisation of gay marriage. A major anti-gay marriage protest is set to take place in Paris on Sunday.
A radical far right group opposed to France’s recent legalisation of gay marriage could be banned following comments some have claimed amount to a call to violence, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday.
Known as the Printemps français (French Spring), the group is among those set to take part in a major protest in Paris on Sunday against the ‘marriage for all’ bill, signed into law by President François Hollande earlier this month.
Speaking to the radio station France Info, Valls said he was looking at the possibility of banning the group following “unnacceptable” recent statements, in which the organisation appeared to threaten the government and individuals supporting gay marriage.
‘No place for groups that challenge the Republic’
In a declaration published on Tuesday, the radical group threatened to target “the government and all its appendices, the collaborating political parties and lobbies where the ideological programmes are developed and the organs which spread it”.
"This is a call to violence,” Valls told France Info, adding that there had even been a number of death threats, which he does not “take lightly”.
"Justice will have to act because it is intolerable that in the Republic there can be these messages of hate,” he continued. “There is no place for groups that challenge the Republic, democracy and which also attack individuals.”
French Spring adopts revolutionary mantle
With a name meant to mirror that given to the uprisings in the Arab world in recent years, the French Spring has sought to adopt the revolutionary mantle among the various groups standing against France’s legalisation of gay marriage.
The movement has been blamed for increasingly violent protests against gay marriage in recent months, including an attempt to occupy the Champs-Elysées in Paris in March, defying a police ban.
This has led others in the anti-gay marriage camp to distance themselves from the French Spring and its leader, Béatrice Bourges.
“Béatrice Bourges is no longer a member of our collective,” Frigide Barjot, the French comedian-turned-figurehead of the anti-gay marriage protests, said in a recent interview with France’s Le Parisien newspaper.
Ban a ‘denial of democracy’
However, Bourges on Thursday denied allegations the group had incited violence and claimed that any ban would amount to an attack on democracy.
“It means that everything that is not politically correct or conformist will be punished in our country," she told French TV channel i>Télé.
"I'm sad that in this country we have reached such a denial of democracy. There has never been a call to violence,” she added.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)