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Generation Identity: France begins shutting down far-right group

France is starting the method of shutting down the far-right Generation Identity (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 National 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 title of the group which advocates for “defending the identity and culture of white Europeans” and decries what it calls the “great replacement” by immigration and “Islamisation”.

According to a letter dated February 11 from the French Ministry of Interior to GI’s president, the Al Jazeera investigation Generation Hate “revealed the reality of this organisation” the place members “rejoiced at the assault of a woman of North African origin”.

The letter cites various instances that spotlight the group’s racism, violence, and the idea on which it’s thought-about a “private militia” and goes on to say that “the comments made and the Nazi-inspired gestures … as well as the threats of further attacks, demonstrate the true face of this organisation and its activists”.

The letter accuses GI of “openly hateful rhetoric” which “contributes to heightening tensions within the national community” and “provokes violent attacks”.

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 mentioned she was “very at ease” with Al Jazeera’s investigation.

She admitted that the actions and feedback reported have been “certainly to be condemned”, however falsely claimed the individuals who made them have been “neither GI activists nor GI members”.

Al Jazeera’s investigation targeted on key members of the group’s Lille department, one of the crucial lively GI chapters in France, and implicated its highly effective chief Aurélien Verhassel.

At Saturday’s pro-GI rally, Florian Philippot, the president of the Patriots Party and former ally of Marine Le Pen, addressed the gang.

The group additionally obtained messages of help from various main figures in Le Pen’s National Rally.

Dries Van Langenhove, a controversial Belgian parliamentarian from the far-right Vlaams Belang get together, additionally attended.

Videos posted on social media of the protest present GI activists kicking and punching a counter-demonstrator on the bottom.

Three GI members convicted

In December 2020, three far-right activists, together with one GI member, have been convicted of offences together with incitement to “terrorism”, incitement to spiritual hatred, and assault, based mostly on proof gathered throughout Al Jazeera’s Generation Hate investigation.

Remi Falize, a former main member of GI, was convicted of incitement to “terrorism” and assault. He obtained an eight-month suspended jail sentence.

In her video response, D’Escufon didn’t tackle the GI activist’s latest conviction for “incitement to terrorism”.

Al Jazeera caught Falize on digicam declaring his “dying wish” to drive a automotive into an space filled with Muslims. He was additionally filmed punching a 13-year-old woman 4 instances on the top, outdoors 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 an adolescent 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 {the teenager} struck by Falize, was given a three-month suspended jail sentence.

Links to Marine Le Pen

In the aftermath of the investigation, the group distanced itself from Verhassel, claiming he was 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 based mostly on “transient visitors” 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 claimed to have declined in recent times.

Al Jazeera additionally revealed proof of shut hyperlinks between GI activists and key figures in Le Pen’s National Front get together, France’s most distinguished far-right political get together, which has since modified its title to the National Rally.

Two members of the European Parliament, Christelle Lechevalier and Sylvie Goddyn, are proven expressing help for GI.

After Al Jazeera’s movie was broadcast, Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, referred to as for the Citadelle bar to be shut down, however to at the present time, it stays open.

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Updated on March 2, 2021 6:21 am

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