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National Rally banner displayed during pro-migrant march, Lyon. Twitter
Lyon

Banner against illegals end in ‘hate speech’ charges

A banner displayed during a pro-migrant march in Lyon resulted in the convocation to the police station of three participants including a prominent conservative politician of Marine Le Pen's party, Muriel Coativy.

Published: July 31, 2018, 9:04 am

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    The march in support of migrants took place between 24 and 26 May in Lyon and the banner was put up at the instigation of the Génération Nation group (GN) of Rhône in France.

    National Assembly delegate Muriel Coativy however soon found herself faced with a court summons for “provoking hatred” and “ethnic violence”. She says she is shocked by what has happened. “At no time did I imagine I would be summoned following the deployment of our banner!”

    The words on banner read: “French first, illegals out”. Like her, two other people who took part in the action were summoned to the police station. Among them is Alexandre Economos, member of Génération Nation in Rhône.

    However, Muriel Coativy was the only one auditioned so far: “This investigation was provoked by the public prosecutor”, she learned during her summons to the Oullins police station.

    At the root of this investigation, the regional councilor of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes suspects a relentlessness attack on the National Rally, formerly known as the Front National.

    “How did the idea of ​​this charge reach the ear of the Prosecutor of the Republic?” Coativy asked. Pending a dismissal of the case, Muriel Coativy says she wishes to hear his reasons for taking the surprising decision.

    She posted a screenshot of the summons on her Twitter profile, denouncing the “financial and judicial persecution of the National Rally”. Coativy, a lawyer, said: “I do not see where is the problem in this banner!”

    It should be noted that other departmental groups of Génération Nation, had deployed similar banners everywhere in the country on that same day. Coativy has not been able to talk to any of these groups since she received her summons.

    Dozens of pro-migration activists set off from the Italian border town of Ventimiglia on a “March of Solidarity” which passed through more than 60 French towns and cities, including Nice, Marseille, Lyon, Dijon, Paris and Lille. The march was organized by the French migrant charity l’Auberge des Migrants.

    “The foreigners have been walking for a long time. But we, the citizens, are going to start walking for them, with them,” Jacques Gaillot, the former Bishop of Evreux, declared ahead of the march.

    Ventimiglia was chosen as the symbolic start of the march because it is where migrants are sent back by police patrolling the French border.

    In a similar move against conservatives, the spokesperson of Génération Identitaire (GI), explained in a video that his employment contract was not renewed after his participation in Operation Defend Europe in the Alps, last April.

    On April 21, Romain Espino took part in the operation at the Col de l’Echelle, near Briancon, in the Hautes-Alpes, to “control the Franco-Italian border” to stop the massive influx of migrants. Put in the spotlight because of his role as spokesperson, he then suffered attacks on social media.

    His employer, Crédit Agricole dismissed him after black activists complained about him.

    French justice has opened an investigation against the activists of GI, he says. “The day after our action [that of the Col de l’Echelle, last April, Ed] and following some media coverage, my employer was harassed by pro-illegal activists. The company’s telephone lines were saturated, extremist militants came to protest and the company was the target of virulent threats on social networks. (…)

    “Because of all this, my professional future is really challenged because I am put in the closet, no mission is entrusted to me, my actions are monitored and my contract, which is for a fixed term, will not be renewed.

    “The opportunity for me to find a job in my industry is totally compromised,” he said. However, despite all his professional troubles, Espino says he is “proud” of his political commitment.

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