In the wake of the Islamist terror attacks in Paris, one group of Frenchmen took to the streets demanding the expulsion of Islamists from the country.
As demonstrators gathered in the city of Lille to show their solidarity with the people of Paris, a group of protestors who have been linked to the “identitarian” movement joined them, lighting flares and holding a banner saying “Expel the Islamists”.
Europe1 says their presence was not welcomed by some of the other protestors, however, with riot police forced to intervene to separate the demonstrators. Some were pushed back, with counter-protestors shouting “Out with the fascists” and booing the call to deport Islamists.
The identitarian movement is based on a political ideology that stresses national identity and traditional values, and opposes mass immigration. Unlike many similar movements, it has a large youth following, with protestors previously “occupying” a mosque at Poitiers and the Socialist Party headquarters – in a manner similar to the left-wing “Occupy Wall Street” protests.
Yesterday’s anti-Islamism protests have also been linked to the National Front Party, whose leader Marine Le Pen said the French people are “no longer safe” thanks to the Islamist threat.
She was already polling in first place for the French presidency before the attack, with Ifop putting her on 28 per cent, ahead of former president Nicolas Sarkozy on 23 and incumbent president François Hollande on 21.
While support Mr Hollande will probably rise in the immediate aftermath of the attacks as the French people rally round their government, it will likely fall back again as France decides how to deal with the Islamist threat.
Ms Le Pen said yesterday that France must “annihilate” Islamist radicals, saying: “France must ban Islamist organizations, close radical mosques and expel foreigners who preach hatred in our country as well as illegal migrants who have nothing to do here.”
“It is absolutely necessary that France regains control of its borders,” she added.