Here is a video of the neo-fascist demonstration on Saturday in Paris, authorized and protected by the police, which was attended by two relatives of Marine Le Pen, ex-treasurers of the microparty of the leader of the National Rally. 1/2pic.twitter.com/LOP114qM61
— Edwy Plenel (@edwyplenel) May 8, 2023
Hundreds of neo-fascists roaming freely through the streets of Paris. The images of the last day 7 in the bourgeois district 5 of the French capital are shocking not only for the profile of the demonstrators, mostly white hooded men dressed in black. Fully disguising the face is prohibited in France, but it seems that an exception was made that day.
The police treatment, restricted to a mere escort, is shocking. A contrast with the bans on certain demonstrations against the pension reform imposed by President Emmanuel Macron. And with the tear gas bombs thrown at the latter. Police violence legitimized by the government because they were “extreme left black blocs”, or “black bourgeois”, as one of the ministers said. Crippled trade unionists who say so, like Sébastien, a railroad pilot who lost an eye after a grenade exploded in the middle of a demonstration against the French president’s pension reform.
On the eve of the celebration of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, the French website Mediapart discovered that two of those present at the neo-fascist act on Saturday are former collaborators of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the country’s extreme right. And that neo-Nazi groups held a clandestine party on Saturday in a place dedicated to the memory of the holocaust.
Images circulate on the internet of the Mediapart reporter being intimidated by the demonstrators. “Yann Castanier was intimidated and threatened several times and had to continue his work under police protection.”
According to Mediapart, a police officer told the journalist that they would not be able to guarantee his safety if the members of the act attacked him.
For those who saw the police escort of the Brazilian coup leaders on the 8th of January, the disturbing question also remains in the case of France: does the police act for the security of society or as part of neo-fascist acts?
According to a report by Marine Turchi published in Mediapart on the 7th, one of the neo-fascists at Saturday’s act is Axel Lousteau, known to Marine Le Pen since her law degree at the Panthéon-Assas University. The vehicle explains that he provided financial and political support to the deputy.
First, as the founder of a security and printing company that worked for the then Fronte Nacional (today União Nacional) party. Secondly, as treasurer of the Jeanne party, a kind of satellite of the National Union. He was a councilor for Marine’s party and coordinated the financial sector of the extremist’s campaign in 2017.
The second Lepenist ally would be Olivier Duguet, who according to Mediapart defrauded French unemployment insurance in 2012. He acted as treasurer of the Jeanne party, a reference to Joan of Arc, the “liberator” myth of the National Union of France from foreign domination, instrumentalization to massacre and expel African immigrants from the country.
On Sunday, the Lepenistas were part of the chorus that shouted “Europe, revolution, youth”.
“The demonstration, authorized by the French police, took place in a climate of great hostility towards the press and was escorted by an undersized police force, considered to be dangerous”.
The police defend themselves by saying that their conduct is “adapted” and that in previous years “there was no overflow or problem with public order”. As in the coup attacks of the 8th of January in Brazil, there is a doubt about the action of the police in France: does the police act as an escort or a demonstrator?
The Mediapart film reporter had to leave the demonstration with a police escort, which, according to the website, helped to hide his license plate after he was photographed by the demonstrators. Death threats that would be recurrent from right-wing extremists, who see journalists as a preferred target.
Marine Turchi points out that the figures identified in the act contradict the narrative of the far-right party, which since being led by Marine Le Pen in 2012 has tried to pass itself off as a conventional party. In France, the strategy is called “dediabolization”.
A few years ago, French journalists infiltrated in the current National Union showed the porosity that exists between the party and anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi movements. In front of the cameras, current leaders are ordering the appearance of tolerance on issues such as the rights of the LGBT population. But behind the cameras, part of the militancy moves from the party spaces to meet in bars with neo-Nazi cells. The dynamic seems to persist.
According to Mediapart, Saturday’s demonstration continued at a neo-Nazi party on the outskirts of Paris, in a space in the town hall of Saint-Cyr-L’Ecole dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust. In the city, there is one of the main military schools in the country, the Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr.
A report by Donatien Huet published on the portal this Thursday points out that the militants gave Nazi salutes during the party and that the city hall, responsible for the space, governed by the conventional right-wing party UDI, said it had been rented for an “anniversary” and who was “disgusted” by the images.
According to the publication, the pamphlet publicizing the party takes up the Nazi motto “Honor and faithfulness”. Its organization would have been the result of an association of neo-Nazi cells that communicate mainly through Telegram.
The meeting has international dimensions. The publication discovered that one of the musical groups that appears in the pamphlet, Katastrof, is classified as “Aryan rock” and has performed in countries such as Bulgaria and Portugal. On social networks, she identified comments on Facebook by one of the vocalists in praise of white power (“white power”, in English) and contempt for France “full of blacks”.
The symbols of the “artists” present as their names, in the case of the Légion 88, are interpreted as an allusion to Heil Hitler, given that the letter H is the octave of the alphabet. The appeal to the death of leftists is part of the repertoire.
Questioned by the report, the police of the region did not respond about the event.
Huet observes a proliferation of neo-Nazi concerts and events across France, some becoming banned by the authorities and others escaping any control.
The political environment and the Macron government’s strategy to “combat” the extreme right only seem to favor the emergence of the neo-fascist movement.
First, in the debates with which your Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin describes Marine Le Pen as “soft” in relation to immigration. The discourse that is installed from then on in the political scenario of the strongest (the government and the extreme right) is that of a unique discourse around a common enemy, the immigrant, in particular Africans. The traditional right that crumbled in the last elections with less than 5% of the votes embraces this discourse, hoping to return to power.
Secondly, the stigmatization promoted by the government of President Emmanuel Macron of the protest movements against the pension reform that raised the minimum age to retire from 62 to 64 years old, emphasizing the breaking of windows and calling its authors “bourgeois blocs”, in a the allusion to “black blocs” as a way of disqualifying them only reinforces the construction of another dangerous enemy for society, that of the radical left.
What intelligence experts point out is that extreme right-wing terrorism is actually one of the greatest threats to French society.
For those Brazilians who want the right to take to the streets and bring the extreme right to power, seeing the ultra-right (neo-fascist and neo-Nazi) parade in front of everyone’s eyes in the most absolute freedom in France indicates a movement that is going in a very dangerous direction.