Antifa Leader on National Security Watchlist Elected to French National Assembly

Raphael Arnault of the Jeune Garde anti-fascist movement, in Paris, France, on December 5,
Vincent Koebel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An extremist Antifa leader who is on France’s national security watchlist has been elected to the National Assembly as a member of the New Popular Front leftist bloc.

The official spokesman of the Lyon Antifa collective “Jeune Garde Antifasciste (Young Antifascist Guard) in Lyon, Raphaël Arnault will represent the first constituency of Vaucluse in Provence in the French parliament after beating out populist National Rally candidate Catherine Jaouen with 54.98 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s second round of legislative elections, Le Figaro reports.

Arnault’s candidacy, which was backed by far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI) party — a member of the New Popular Front alliance — sparked controversy after it was revealed that the Antifa radical had an “S-file”, meaning that he is on the French government’s national security watchlist.

The list typically catalogues people who pose a threat to the safety of the state such as terrorists, however, it also includes violent environmentalists or members of extremist political groups, such as the Antifa group to which Arnault belongs.

Because having an S-file does not equate to a criminal conviction — or even necessarily state surveillance — it means that there are no restrictions on Arnault entering the National Assembly.

In addition to being on the watchlist, Arnault’s Antifa group have been accused of an antisemitic attack on the Paris subway in May, in which a 15-year-old claimed to have been assaulted for being a “supposed jew” and a “zionist”.

The Young Antifascist Guard has denied that violence took place, claiming that it was merely a “brief altercation” with members of “an anti-Palestinian far-right” group. However, Le Figro reported that eight members of the Antifa group were indicted on June 27th for alleged violence against a subway passenger.

Arnoult has also been accused of a “violent attack” by a young right-wing activist, who alleged that Arnault and another member of the Young Antifascist Guard “beat” him with a helmet.

The new member of the French National Assembly was also questioned by police for allegedly making a defence of terrorism, after reportedly describing Hamas as a “resistance” movement in the wake of the October 7th terror attacks on Israel.

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