France on Wednesday dissolved a home-grown far-right group for promoting discrimination, hatred and violence, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced.

In a cabinet meeting at the Elysee, President Emmanuel Macron and his top ministers passed a decree banning Generation Identity under the country’s Internal Security Code for being a “combat or private militia,” as well as for provoking and propagating discrimination, hatred or violence against a group or individual based on “origin, ethnic group, nation, race or religion.”

Known for anti-migrant activities and racism, the group has been the subject of an Interior Ministry investigation since January. Darmanin had said he was “scandalized by the ‘work’ of the group undermining the Republic, who are not at their first coup.”

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal characterized the group as “the armed wing of extremism” and “xenophobia.”

“We put an end to the sometimes-violent activities of a group which had for a long time cut the bridges with the Republic,” he said at a press conference, adding that the government would “not let any group whatsoever play our laws and our values.”

At its founding in 2012, Generation Identity occupied the great mosque of Poitiers, organizing demonstrations and delivering hateful messages against immigrants and Muslims. The government particularly took note of the logistical and financial support received by the group from other ultra-right groups and individuals, like New Zealand’s Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant.

Authorities emphasized that the character of the group was based on that of a private militia, involving uniforms and paramilitary exercises for members to be used in attacks against migrants. One such attacker arrested with the intention of committing terrorism was found in possession of explosives, weapons and the group’s trademark blue jacket.

In 2017, Generation Identity tried to prevent rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and push back the boats carrying them. In April 2018 and most recently in January, several members organized so-called patrols along France’s Alpine and Pyrenees borders using drones and helicopters to stop illegal migrants from entering the country, while in May 2020 in Lyon where it is headquartered, it organized more supposed patrols against migrants on public transport.

Wednesday’s decree underlines that the group, “presents immigration and Islam as threats that the French must fight.” It also said that it “maintains an insidious amalgamation” between Muslims and immigrants on the one hand and terrorism on the other to “stir up the resentment of a part of the population against foreigners or the French of foreign origin.”

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