French interior minister begins process of disbanding extreme right-wing group

France's interior minister Gérald Darmanin has announced that steps will be taken to disband an ultra right-wing group known as the 'Zouaves', suspected to be behind violence at the campaign rally for presidential candidate Eric Zemmour on 5th of December.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin AFP - LUDOVIC MARIN

"I have begun a procedure to disband this group known as the Zouaves, whose members were either part of the GUD (a former extreme right-wing student union), or the Action française -- two very well known right-wing movements," Gérald Darmanin announced on RTL radio on Sunday.

"We are expecting to have a judgment rendered in the presence of the parties involved, as we I did with the Génération Identitaire case," he said, referring to France’s Council of State's decision in May to uphold the banning of the far-right anti-migrant group Generation Identity.

"If the judgement is in our favour, and we believe that we are right, then we will go ahead with disbanding this group in the presence of the council of ministers and the state, and once again I hope they will prove us right."

The interior minister said the same process had been undertaken to disband islamist groups such as the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), BarakaCity and the Sheikh Yassine collective, in the wake of the murder of teacher Samuel Paty in October 2020. 


Violence broke out at a political campaign rally organised by right-wing candidate Eric Zemmour in Villepinte, north of Paris on 5th of December, and an inquiry was launched.

During the meeting, several activists from the group SOS Racisme wearing T-shirts printed with "No to racism" said they were punched and chairs were thrown at them by people supporting Zemmour.

Around 50 people, identified by the police as being members of the Zouaves group, posed for photos outside the venue, according to witnesses.

They were shouting "we are at home," according to anAFP journalist at the scene.

"One of the attackers is a member of the Zouaves Paris group...he was recognised by other activists who attended the rally," the president of SOS Racisme Dominique Sopo told AFP.

The Zouaves group was also accused of violence during Yellow Vest protests on 1 December 2018 in Paris, and attacking a bar where antifascist groups gathered in June 2020. 

(with AFP)

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