Six French youth activists have been fined 500 euros each after they displaying a banner requesting the French government expel Islamists from the country.
The incident, which occurred in August of last year saw the activists belonging to the Identitarians hold a banner over Arras train station that read “expel Islamists” after they had scaled the building. The members held up smoke sticks and their signature Lambda flags until police and firefighters were called in to remove them.
French state-owned SNCF railway company brought about the charges which the Identitarian lawyer Jerome Triomphe tried to have dropped. The judge sided with SNCF and brought about charges which some activists plead guilty to and some did not. The activists who plead not guilty were brought before the court in January with the judges decision having just been made on the 2nd of February.
The state company then said they were looking for 5000 euros in damages for the demonstration which the judge also ruled against. Instead the judge ordered six of the activists to pay 500 euros each for a total of 3000 euros to be paid to SNCF. The judge also returned the banner and flags to the Identitarians which had been confiscated in August.
The initial protest was in reaction to the Thalys Islamist attack in which 25-year-old Moroccan man Ayoub El Khazzani brought an ak-47 rifle on board a train but was subdued by three American men, two of whom were off duty military personnel, after the attacker opened fire injuring passengers on board. The Americans were lauded as heroes in France and given the Legion of Honour by French president Hollande.
The reaction to the verdict by the Identitarians has been dismissive of the entire proceedings as their spokesman Aurelien Verhassel said, “we believe that we are right to think this is a political decision. The illegal occupation charge is just an excuse to stick us in court. The political class as a whole, from (former French president) Sarkozy to Hollande, excluding Marine Le Pen, are now finally claiming what we have been saying all along. It’s funny to be so ahead of them.”
Verhassel also said getting their flags and banner back, “we will be able to use it again soon. We react to current events,” and that they would return to the same style of demonstration soon, implying the courts wouldn’t have any meaningful effect on their desire to go out and demonstrate their ideas.
The Identitarian movement started in France and has the most support there but has also branched out to Austria, Germany, Italy and Spain. Breitbart London has reported on the creative demonstrations of the group in Austria in particular where they staged a mock beheading of leftists while dressed up as Jihadis.