France shuts down two fringe far-right groups

PARIS Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:53pm EDT

French student Clement Meric (R) wears a red scarf over his face as he walks behind a banner, partially seen, which reads, ''Homophobia Kills'' to support France's planned legalisation of same-sex marriage, during a demonstration of the anti-gay marriage movement in Paris April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

French student Clement Meric (R) wears a red scarf over his face as he walks behind a banner, partially seen, which reads, ''Homophobia Kills'' to support France's planned legalisation of same-sex marriage, during a demonstration of the anti-gay marriage movement in Paris April 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

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PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has ordered the closure of two far-right fringe groups following the killing of a leftist student during a brawl in Paris this month, the groups said on Tuesday.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist government has promised to crack down on far-right groups after 19-year-old Clement Meric died in a clash between ultra-nationalist and far-left youths in a busy Paris street.

The two groups targeted by the ban are the far-right movement known as the "Third Way" and its militant wing, the Revolutionary Nationalist Youths. A group of suspects under investigation for Meric's death had ties to the Third Way.

"The shutdown will not keep nationalism from expressing itself in all possible forms," the founder of the Revolutionary Youths, Alexandre Gabriac, told Reuters in response to the move.

Meric's death followed months of street violence by far-right groups on the fringes of huge demonstrations against Hollande's move to legalize gay marriage.

RTL radio reported on Tuesday that footage from security cameras suggested that Meric had been about to lay into one of the far-right activists from behind when the youth suddenly turned around and delivered a fatal blow to Meric's face.

(Reporting by Marine Le Pennetier and Gerard Bon; Writing by Leigh Thomas, Editing by Gareth Jones)

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