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France bans three far-right groups after activist's death

AFP

France officially disbanded three far-right organisations on Wednesday, one month after 18-year-old Clément Méric, an anti-fascist activist, died from injuries he sustained during a fight with a skinhead gang in central Paris.

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The French government announced on Wednesday that it had officially disbanded three far-right groups, one month after a young anti-fascist activist died from injuries he sustained during an altercation with a skinhead gang in the heart of Paris.

Clément Méric, 18, died on June 6 after he was fatally wounded in a fight with the skinheads at a private sale of British-branded clothes in Paris’s upscale 9th arrondissement.

The incident prompted Interior Minister Manuel Valls to call for a ban on certain far-right groups in France.

On Wednesday the cabinet approved a measure officially dissolving the Third Way (Troisième Voie), the Revolutionary Nationalist Youth (Jeunesses nationalistes révolutionnaires or JNR) and the Dare to Dream (Envie de rêver) organisation.

Esteban Morillo, 20, the main suspect charged in Méric’s death, was affiliated with both the Third Way and the JNR.

“These three structures bore a resemblance to private militant groups,” said government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, adding that they incited “hate and discrimination”.

The head of the Third Way and the Revolutionary Nationalist Youth movements, Serge Ayoub, told the AFP news agency that he would contest the government’s decision to ban the two groups on the basis that it constitutes an “abuse of power”.

“The Third Way’s writings do not incite racial hatred,” said Ayoub, who also goes by the name “Batskin”. “The JNR is not a private militant group, it’s a security service.”

“This was a political decision. This is a double standard,” he added.

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