After Student Killing, France Bans Far-Right Rally
French authorities banned a far-right youth rally set for Saturday in the southern city of Toulouse after the killing of a left-wing student this week sparked alarm over street violence by ultra-right groups.
Toulouse’s Socialist mayor had expressed concern about a planned torchlight evening march to commemorate the victory of a Christian army in 721 over Muslims besieging the city, after a clash between ultra-right and far-left youths in Paris on Wednesday led to the death of a 19-year-old student.
Toulouse police headquarters said it had feared a “serious risk of public disorder” if the rally went ahead.
France has been shaken in recent months by scenes of far-right youths hurling bricks at police and smashing cars as they piggybacked on street marches led by conservatives and Catholics against a reform to legalize same-sex marriage.
The sudden visibility of far-right groups is shaking up the already fragmented right-wing opposition, as National Front leader Marine Le Pen seeks to distance herself from them and the UMP conservative party squabbles over whether to embrace or oppose the anti-gay marriage movement.