Génération Identitaire (GI) has defended itself from charges related to the incitement to hatred and has filed an appeal with the Council of State for "excess of power", as well as an interim suspension in order to suspend its dissolution decided in March 2021 by the French government.
The anti-immigration association challenged its dissolution decreed in March by the government on April 30 before the Council of State, rejecting the idea that it incited hatred by systematically linking immigration and insecurity.
During the summary hearing, GI’s lawyer, Pierre Robillot, considered that the association was only “questioning” issues, in line with the public debates on these subjects. But the state’s council disagreed. “For Génération identitaire, any immigrant is a potentially violent person who is likely to take action. There is an automatic link between violence, immigration and insecurity,” countered Pascale Léglise, the deputy director of legal affairs at the Ministry of the Interior, during the hearing.
Pascale Léglise cited various slogans of the anti-immigration association, used throughout their nine years of existence: “When you leave your home, you are no longer safe”, “the scum can strike” , “We welcome them, they slit our throats”, “immigration, invasion”.
On Twitter GI wrote: “Faced with insecurity, scum and Islamization: protect your people!”.
Created in 2012, this 1901 law association, whose number of activists and sympathizers is estimated by specialists at 800, became known by occupying the site of a mosque under construction in Poitiers. It then deployed a banner evoking “732”, the year in which “Charles Martel defeated the Arabs in Poitiers”.
GI has also attracted media and political attention with its anti-migrant actions in the Mediterranean and the Alps. Its operation of the same type in the Pyrenees at the end of January “scandalized” the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin who launched the dissolution procedure.
In the dissolution decree, the government accuses the association of “inciting discrimination, hatred and violence” and “willingness to act as a private militia”. In reaction, GI lodged an appeal with the Council of State for “excess of power” as well as a summary suspension (emergency procedure) in order to suspend the dissolution of the association, while the Council State rule on the merits.
According to GI’s lawyer “The link between immigration and terrorism, and more generally insecurity, is something that is part of the public and political debate”. Robillot cited various political figures who have spoken on the subject, including Emmanuel Macron. In this context, GI is simply adopting “a firm and hard position, which consists in setting aside humanitarian considerations in order to ensure the safety of the people who are on French territory”, he added.
“I do not think that it is an association which adds oil to the fire; on the contrary it acts as a decompression valve”, added his colleague Pierre-Vincent Lambert.
But the representative of the Ministry of the Interior argued that “essentializing these people solely on their origins is to stigmatize this origin and make it one of the causes of insecurity. […] This amalgamation without nuances is from our point of view very dangerous, all the more so today with the fracture of society on these questions,” continued Pascale Léglise.
The dissolution of GI came after the Interior Ministry had already obtained, in recent months, that of three associations accused of being close to the Islamist movement (CCIF, BarakaCity and the Cheikh Yassine collective) in the wake of the assassination of Samuel Paty in October 2020, as well as that of the Turkish ultranationalist group of “Gray Wolves”.
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