French Interior Minister Manuel Valls vowed Friday to crack down on far-right groups after a leftist student activist died following a fight with skinheads in Paris.
The death of 18-year-old Clement Meric, a student at the country’s prestigious Sciences-Po university, sent shockwaves across France, with thousands attending rallies in Paris and other major cities and politicians across the political spectrum condemning the attack.
The tough-talking Socialist Valls pledged a “merciless” crackdown on far-right groups, though admitting that it could not be accomplished overnight.
When asked if such groups would be dissolved, he said on RMC radio: “We will do it without doubt, but it will take a little time, lots of determination.”
“Sadly such movements are resurging,” he said, citing groups of “racists, anti-Semites and homophobes.”
On Thursday evening, more than 15,000 people took part in marches in honour of Meric in Paris and other cities around the country, including his hometown of Brest.
Seven people have been detained after the fight on Wednesday near the city’s central Saint-Lazare railway station, which left Meric brain dead. Meric, described as a model student, died later.
The man suspected of having dealt the fatal blow said he did not intend to kill, a police source said. The alleged attacker who is in his twenties is a known skinhead.