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The Attack on Clément Méric Was Not an Isolated Act

Translated Monday 17 June 2013, by Gene Zbikowski

The attack on Clément Méric on the evening of June 5 is far from being the only one. For several months, violent far-right groups have deliberately taken aim at progressive activists. A non-exhaustive round-up of the latest attacks in France:


Vox Populi, a racist and homophobe “national identity” group has been responsible for several physical attacks in the course of the last months. “We’re not going to surrender the street to populism,” warned Fabien, a communist activist in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps during the Gay Pride march in Tours on May 27. “Neither the fear of others nor the state security climate are going to make us back down.” The Saint-Pierre-des-Corps city council, led by the French Communist Party senator Marie-France Beaufils, recently voted unanimously a request for the dissolution of the group. Moreover, Fabien was the victim of one of their attacks, as was Mathieu, a left-wing voter who had condemned anti-Semitic slurs made in one of the bars in the city. “The Vox Populi recruit drop-outs, kids, and give them an importance that they don’t necessarily have in the eyes of their entourage,” he explained.

The communist deputy mayor of Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Jean-Pierre Chipot, was also the victim of a beating as he was leaving a meeting. He wants to put an end to this abuse and ill-treatment: “We are asking all of the neighboring towns to vote a request for dissolution. These far-right activists tend to instill a climate of terror in the streets of Tours through odious and fascistic acts. We will not retreat in the face of hatred!”

— Lyon

It appears that this is the neighborhood that is most subject to video surveillance in Lyon, because of the many tourists. And yet, in the old town center of Lyon, the Saint-Paul and Saint-Jean neighborhoods are the theater of violent night-time attacks several times a month. The phenomenon seems to spring from one place: la Traboule. Open for business since 2011 in the montée du Change, in Saint-Jean neighborhood, these association-run premises are the operational base for Rebeyne (which means “revolt” in the Lyon dialect), the National Identity Youth, the youth group of the National Identity Bloc. These are far-right organizations that like to think of themselves as better disciplined than the skinheads or the hooligans who also people the fifth arrondissement, but who do not hesitate to copy their strong-arm methods.

— Givors

“After the insults, the verbal attacks and the attempt at intimidation of young French Communist Party activists, who were putting up posters (in broad daylight) by the henchmen of Antoine Melliès, the National Front candidate in the upcoming municipal elections, it is now the Lyons GUD that is plaguing Givors. In the night of June 1-2, because they’re afraid to show their faces, they covered the show window of our premises with their racist and hateful stickers,” the Givors branch of the French Communist Party stated on June 4.

— Lille

In mid-April, on the margins of the “Demonstration for all” [against the Taubira law], three employees of a gay bar were attacked. Towards 10 p.m., “four individuals” belonging to the far right entered the bar, the owner, Yohan, explained to the Agence France Presse. Aged “from 25 to 35, with shaved heads, and tattooed” with swastikas, they began by insulting, and at his refusal to “lower his eyes” they threw the furniture of the bar in the show window. “I was hit right in the head by a chair,” said a witness, whose face was bruised.

This was not the far right’s first “coup d’éclat” in Lille.

— Paris

In the French capital, the protest movement against the law on "marriage for all" gave several opportunities to the far-right groups – L’oeuvre française, the GUD and the Nationalist Youth – to act violently. First in the “Demonstration for all.” On the margins of these demonstrations, against the premises and the activists of the LGBT collective. Before the tragedy of the evening of June 5…

— Toulouse

A week ago, the Anti-Fascist Union of Toulouse warned of racist graffiti. In the night of May 15-16, “racists spray-painted graffiti on the Biératorium, attempted to break the show windows of the Communard, and dirtied the premises of the CNT Vignoles [an anarchist trade union] with such pitiful graffiti as “White pride” and dozens of Celtic crosses – crosses which our little Nazis are particularly fond of for symbolizing their adherence to hatred. It can be said without much risk that it’s always the same team of individuals, going from the National Identity Bloc to the Nationalist Youth, plus a few hooligans. A team that is already responsible for several attacks, notably against the Communard and the shops in Arnaud Bernard square.”

That time, no physical attacks. They had taken place earlier.

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