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Several demonstrations have taken place in France following the death in Paris of a young left-wing activist in an attack blamed on skinheads.
Thousands heeded the call of left-wing and anti-fascist groups in the capital to pay tribute to student Clément Méric, who was declared brain dead the next day.
Seven people including at least one woman were arrested. At least some are thought to belong to the country’s most extreme far right movement.
For the demonstrators, the attack was political:
“That an activist, a young man, could be beaten to death like that because he backed ideas different from those he faced, is appalling,” said one young woman. “I’ve nothing against banning those far right groups. However I think that won’t be enough because in reality the problem is they’ve been visible for some months now, and it’s not an isolated incident.”
Two fringe organisations are under the spotlight following the attack. Some of the suspected aggressors are thought to be close to the hard core but the groups’ leader has denied involvement.
During the fight the student who died was reportedly hit violently by several men.
Euronews correspondent Giovanni Magi said from the Paris demonstration in the Place St Michel:
“With the other spontaneous demonstrations being held in several cities, all over the country France has raised a cry of pain and anger.”
In Lyon a few thousand took to the streets. The city has seen a rise in far-right activity in recent years – including a reported increase in attacks which anti-fascist groups say have left several people seriously injured. Lyon’s mayor has called for the extremist groups to be dissolved.
Several were noticed during the recent wave of opposition to gay marriage in France, joining protests that occasionally turned violent.
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