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French court confirms ban on anti-migrants group

France's highest administrative court on Monday approved the government's banning of a far-right group, Génération Identitaire, which on several occasions had tried to stop migrants entering the country.

French court confirms ban on anti-migrants group
Members of the far-right group last June deployed a banner reading 'victims of anti-white racism', during a 'Black Lives Matter' protest against racism and police brutality on Place de la République in Paris. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

The government’s decision to ban the group was “proportionate” to the risk the group posed to public order, it ruled, confirming the government’s March 3rd decree.

Génération Identitaire (Generation Identity) had justified its actions by claiming it was contributing to the public debate on immigration and the fight against “Islamist terrorism”, the judgement noted.

But in fact it had “for several years propagated ideas … that tended to justify or encourage discrimination, hatred or violence towards foreigners and the Muslim religion”, it added.

Génération Identitaire spokesman Thaïs d’Escufon denounced the ruling as a “political decision”.

READ ALSO: France aims to shut down far-right anti-immigrant group

But Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who published the March decree ordering the group’s dissolution, welcomed the ruling in a tweet Monday evening.

The court’s position was clear, he wrote: “Géneration Identitaire promotes an ideology inciting hatred and violence.”

One of the group’s last operations was in January, when about 30 members gathered at the Col du Portillon pass on the border of France and Spain in what they called a surveillance operation to “defend Europe”.

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POLITICS

French locals urge Macron to eject mayor over child sexual images

A group of villagers in eastern France said on Friday they have asked President Emmanuel Macron to remove their mayor, who refuses to resign despite an investigation into allegations he accessed child sexual images.

French locals urge Macron to eject mayor over child sexual images

Dominique Lott, mayor of the Echenon municipality home to around 800 people, was one of 48 men arrested in mid-November raids across France.

He has acknowledged “some of the acts of which he is accused” ahead of his April trial, Dijon prosecutors said when he was detained.

They added that he possessed “images and videos depicting minors aged five to 15 in suggestive poses, or engaging in sex acts with each other or with adults”.

But the mayor is not required to resign by law, stoking anger among villagers.

By Friday, a petition demanding he step down had gathered almost 600 signatures.

National politicians Adrien Quatennens — an MP accused of striking his wife — and Julien Bayou — the Greens chief who stepped down over accusations of “psychological violence” against a former partner — had quit, so “why not our mayor?”, the signatories asked.

“Only two” village councillors out of 14 have stepped down in protest, said local resident and mother of an eight-month-old boy, Wardia Haya-Cartaut, one of the authors of the letter to Macron.

For its part, the local council said in a statement that “the justice system will take care of the trial, that’s not up to us”.

“Legally speaking, we have no room for manoeuvre,” the council added.

But Haya-Cartaut quotes chapter and verse from the legal code on local government, which allows the French president to recall a mayor.

“Without disrespecting the principle of presumption of innocence, it is in your power to issue a disciplinary measure,” she wrote to Macron alongside two other local mothers.

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