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France

France bans two more far-right groups

media French Interior minister Manuel Valls talks to journalists after the cabinet meeting Wednesday Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

France’s Socialist government has banned another far-right group along with its youth wing in the aftermath of the killing of anti-fascist activist Clément Méric. L’Oeuvre Française and Jeunesses Nationalistes are private militias that spread racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, according to Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

Founded in 1968, l’Oeuvre française is the oldest of the many groupuscules on the French far right.

It is openly anti-Semitic and was involved in some of the most radical demonstrations against this year’s gay marriage law, such as the breaking up of a

meeting that one of the law’s architects, Socialist MP Erwann Binet, was due to address.

Jeunesses Nationalistes was founded in 2011 under the leadership of Alexandre Gabriac, a regional councillor in Rhône-Alpes who was expelled from Marine Le Pen’s Front National after photos of him giving a Nazi salute were made public.

The two organisations are most active in the southern French city of Lyon.

The older group “propagates a xenophobic and anti-Semitic ideology, racist and negationist ideas” and declares its support for leaders of Marshall Philippe Pétain’s collaborationist regime during the German occupation of France, Valls told reporters after a cabinet meeting Wednesday that voted for the ban.

It is “organised as a private militia with military-style training camps”, he said, adding that the Jeunesses Nationalistes “propagates hate and violence, glorifies collaboration and pays tribute to the [Pétainist] militia and the Waffen SS”.

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Gabriac, for one, remained defiant.

“The belief that banning our groups with a piece of paper will stop our determination and our progress is a fantasy,” he tweeted. “The future is ours.”

After Méric’s death last month the government banned the three organisations most implicated in the killing, Troisième Voie, Jeunesses Nationalistes Révolutionnnaires and Envie de Rêver.

Envie de Rêver appealed against its dissolution to the Conseil d’Etat, the highest appeal court in the land, on the grounds that it was an abuse of power.

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