Europe

France considers dissolving Generation Identity group

Far-right group known for propagating white supremacist ideas, anti-Muslim and racist conspiracy theories

Shweta Desai   | 26.01.2021
France considers dissolving Generation Identity group

PARIS

France is considering dissolving a home-grown right-wing group known for anti-migrant operations and racism, according to the minister of interior on Tuesday. 

Gerald Darmanin addressed Generation Identity for the first time at a news conference and said he was particularly “scandalized by the 'work' of the group undermining the Republic, who are not at their first coup.”

Darmanin said he asked the ministry “to bring together the elements that would make it possible to propose the dissolution of Generation Identity” and that the ministry would act within the framework of laws and he would not hesitate to propose dissolution.

The decision was promptly denounced by far-right politicians.

Jordan Bardella, vice president of the National Rally party, questioned if Darmanin was going to take action against Islamist groups who continue to refuse to sign the charter of principles. Frejus Mayor David Rachline, who is a member of the Rally, asked if the minister intends to dissolve the African Black Defense League. The group labeled French soldiers who died in Mali "terrorists."

“Or do you just do political communication?” he asked.

Gilbert Collard, from the European Parliament, said he was shocked by the government’s dangerous priorities. “Many radical mosques have been reported in France, but for Darmanin it's Generation Identity that must be dissolved!,” he said.

Generation Identity staged an operation last week in the Haute Garone department of the Pyrenees mountains to secure French-Spanish borders from infiltrating migrants. Members posted images and videos on social media of the group dressed in trademark blue jackets driving trucks with a white mounted flag that read: Defend Europe. The imagery drew a comparison with Daesh members in humvees with black flags.

Haute Garone department elected officials and political groups like Young Left Radicals and National Observatory of the Far-Right condemned the operation and demanded the dissolution of the Generation Identity.

The group, which was founded in 2012, had distanced itself from violence-oriented neo-Nazi groups, but long remained a source of concern for security agencies as its leading members propagated white supremacist ideas, anti-Muslim and racist conspiracy theories such as “The Great Replacement”.

Darmanin and his deputy, Marlene Schiappa, presented results on the first year of operation of the departmental Cells for the Fight against Islamism and Community Withdrawal (CLIR), formed in November 2019. Nearly every metropolitan department is equipped with CLIRs, they said.

Last year, 6,739 inspections were conducted to keep a check on separatism, radicalization in places of worship, schools, and associative structures.

In December, 36 structures were closed. Since Feb 2018, the ministry has carried out 19,921 checks and closed 452 establishments that advocated radicalization, said Darmanin.

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