France is starting the method of shutting down the far-right Era Identification (GI) group, a transfer that comes after Al Jazeera’s undercover investigation uncovered the group’s racism, violence, and connections with Marine Le Pen’s Nationwide Rally get together.
On Saturday, dozens in Paris rallied in opposition to the transfer – scheduled to start Monday – a few of whom wore blue vests emblazoned with the phrases “Génération Identitaire”, the French identify of the group which advocates for “defending the identification and tradition of white Europeans” and decries what it calls the “nice substitute” by immigration and “Islamisation”.
Based on a letter dated February 11 from the French Ministry of Inside to GI’s president, the Al Jazeera investigation Generation Hate “revealed the fact of this organisation” the place members “rejoiced on the assault of a lady of North African origin”.
The letter cites quite a few circumstances that spotlight the group’s racism, violence, and the premise on which it’s thought of a “non-public militia” and goes on to say that “the feedback made and the Nazi-inspired gestures … in addition to the threats of additional assaults, display the true face of this organisation and its activists”.
The letter accuses GI of “brazenly hateful rhetoric” which “contributes to heightening tensions inside the nationwide neighborhood” and “provokes violent assaults”.
The far-right group had 10 days from receiving the letter to reply to the accusations earlier than the ministry formally begins closing the group.
In 2017, GI was behind the “Defend Europe” stunt that noticed far-right activists set sail on the Mediterranean Sea in an try to dam refugee rescue operations.
Protest in opposition to closure
In a video response to the letter, GI spokesperson Thaïs d’Escufo stated she was “very comfy” with Al Jazeera’s investigation.
She admitted that the actions and feedback reported have been “definitely to be condemned”, however falsely claimed the individuals who made them have been “neither GI activists nor GI members”.
Al Jazeera’s investigation centered on key members of the group’s Lille department, one of the lively GI chapters in France, and implicated its highly effective chief Aurélien Verhassel.
In December we uncovered the racism & violence of the far-right group Era Identification.
— Al Jazeera Investigations (@AJIunit) January 29, 2019
At Saturday’s pro-GI rally, Florian Philippot, the president of the Patriots Occasion and former ally of Marine Le Pen, addressed the gang.
The group additionally acquired messages of assist from quite a few main figures in Le Pen’s Nationwide Rally.
Dries Van Langenhove, a controversial Belgian parliamentarian from the far-right Vlaams Belang get together, additionally attended.
Movies posted on social media of the protest present GI activists kicking and punching a counter-demonstrator on the bottom.
Les militants #GenerationIdentitaire ont lynché au sol un antifa. Il a pris plusieurs coups de pied au visage et plusieurs coups de poing. La #police est intervenue pour séparer, les militants #GenerationIdentitaire ont pris la fuite. #DenfertRochereau pic.twitter.com/V388lwr3jg
— actu Paris (@actufrparis) February 20, 2021
Three GI members convicted
In December 2020, three far-right activists, together with one GI member, were convicted of offences together with incitement to “terrorism”, incitement to non secular hatred, and assault, primarily based on proof gathered throughout Al Jazeera’s Era Hate investigation.
Remi Falize, a former main member of GI, was convicted of incitement to “terrorism” and assault. He acquired an eight-month suspended jail sentence.
In her video response, D’Escufon didn’t deal with the GI activist’s current conviction for “incitement to terrorism”.
Al Jazeera caught Falize on digicam declaring his “dying want” to drive a automobile into an space full of Muslims. He was additionally filmed punching a 13-year-old lady 4 instances on the top, exterior a bar in Lille. Every week later, he was filmed contained in the Lille GI headquarters celebrating the assault.
GI’s Etienne “Le Roux” Vanhalwyn, who was filmed pushing a young person in the identical incident and making Nazi toasts, was given a five-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Guillaume Dumont St Priest, who pepper-sprayed struck by Falize, was given a three-month suspended jail sentence.
Hyperlinks to Marine Le Pen
Within the aftermath of the investigation, the group distanced itself from Verhassel, claiming he was now not a member of their motion.
Verhassel, nevertheless, insisted he was nonetheless a member.
In a press convention, Verhassel claimed that Al Jazeera’s documentary was primarily based on “transient guests” who weren’t linked to the group’s “activist base”.
GI was based in France and has branches in Italy, Austria and Germany, though its membership is alleged to have declined lately.
Al Jazeera additionally revealed proof of shut hyperlinks between GI activists and key figures in Le Pen’s Nationwide Entrance get together, France’s most outstanding far-right political get together, which has since modified its identify to the Nationwide Rally.
Two members of the European Parliament, Christelle Lechevalier and Sylvie Goddyn, are proven expressing assist for GI.
After Al Jazeera’s movie was broadcast, Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, called for the Citadelle bar to be shut down, however to today, it stays open.