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French far-right activists handed jail time for Alpine anti-migrant operation

Romain Lafabregue, AFP | Activists from the French far-right political movement Generation Identitaire (GI) and European anti-migrant group Defend Europe in Nevache, near Briançon, on the French-Italian border, on April 21, 2018.

A court in southeastern France on Thursday sentenced the president of the far-right anti-migrant group Generation Identity, its spokesman and a third person to six months in prison for a spectacle-like expedition in the Alps to stop migrants.

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Generation Identity president Clement Gandelin, spokesman Romain Espino and Damien Lefevre, who helped organize last-year’s expedition also were deprived of their civic rights, notably not being able to vote in elections, for five years.

The sentences are a huge blow to the identitarian group known for high-profile stunts to promote its anti-migrant and anti-Islam agenda, which has spread across Europe in recent years. Anti-racism activists and the French government have said they want to get Generation Identity banned.

The sentence matches the recommendation of the prosecutor. The court handed a fine of 75,000 euros ($83,000) to Generation Identity, in line with the prosecutor’s demand.

>> Generation Identity: France’s direct-action, far-right youth group

Gandelin, who goes by the name Clement Galant on social media, tweeted the sentence for himself and the spokesman, but made no mention of Lefevre, who goes by the name of Rieu on social media and has worked with far-right politicians. Investigators said Lefevre helped organize the Alpine expedition last year, complete with helicopter and small plane.

The three were arrested and charged after the Alpine expedition into a mountain pass used by migrants to cross from Italy to France.

The three were handed the unusual charge of “exercising activities in conditions that could create confusion with a public function.” Prosecutors alleged their stunt could have been mistaken for a police maneuver.

(AP)

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