Accident – Death – Obituary News : France Dissolves Far-Right Group Martel Division Following Clashes in Southeastern Town
Paris, France – In a decisive move to combat extremism, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed the dissolution of the far-right group Martel Division during the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, December 6. The group, accused of propagating discriminatory and hateful ideas towards foreign and French people from immigrant backgrounds, as well as organizing punitive operations against individuals of African or North African immigrant descent, has been under scrutiny by French intelligence services for several months.
The dissolution of Martel Division comes in the aftermath of clashes that occurred in Romans-sur-Isère on November 25. The group’s militants had planned to attack residents of the Monnaie neighborhood, which is home to some of the young people suspected of involvement in a fatal brawl in neighboring Crépol on November 18. The brawl resulted in the tragic death of a 16-year-old teenager named Thomas, who was stabbed to death.
With just a few dozen members mainly based in Paris, Martel Division, previously known as Légionnaires Paris, is part of a growing network of similar organizations stemming from France’s radical identitarians or extreme Catholics. These groups adhere to racist conspiracy theories, including the notion of the “great replacement” of white, Catholic European populations by those from African and North African immigrant backgrounds. They advocate violence as the only means of achieving their desired “race war.”
According to the dissolution decree, Martel Division is known for organizing combat training and promoting the use of non-firearm weapons in the confrontations it encourages. The group’s ideology is deeply rooted in neo-Nazi symbols, with the Celtic cross and the slogan “Europe, youth, revolution” being prominently used, reminiscent of the chants made by skinheads in the 1980s and 90s.
This is not the first time a far-right organization associated with Martel Division has faced dissolution. The group was partly formed as a continuation of Zouaves Paris, which was dissolved in January 2022 for similar reasons. Zouaves Paris had been involved in an attack on anti-racist activists during a campaign rally by far-right pundit Eric Zemmour in Villepinte, just north of Paris. Martel Division also maintains close ties with the Paris branch of the Group for Union and Defense (GUD), another violent far-right group that re-emerged recently after being active in the 1970s.
The Martel Division leader, Léo R.-P, hails from Rouen, Normandy, where a video surfaced in October 2022 showing militants purportedly from Martel Division chasing individuals portrayed as drug dealers in a local park. The video was widely shared among nationalist circles, further highlighting the group’s provocative activities.
The dissolution of Martel Division is a significant step towards curbing the rise of far-right extremism in France. However, it is important to remain vigilant as other similar organizations continue to pose a threat to social harmony and the ideals of equality and inclusion.