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In Lyon, the “antifa” youth are organizing against the extreme right

For three years, a fringe of Lyon’s youth has taken hold of the fight against the far right with more and more vigor, independently of associations and classic political formations, and sometimes by violence. The trend was observed in particular in the demonstrations since the uprising of the “yellow vests”. This rejection of the far right by part of the young generation turned to the attempt to demonstrate force on Saturday, October 23, in the procession which brought together more than 2,000 people in Lyon.

For this unique gathering in France, which aims to denounce the uninhibited upsurge of the far right, the flags of the historic unions and left-wing parties, from the CGT to the FSU, from the French Communist Party to Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, float in the parade. But their meager troops seem overwhelmed by young and determined demonstrators, spinning from Place Bellecour to Place des Terreaux. Ultragauche, “antifa”, feminist… the movement comes in several facets. “With Zemmour, we feel that the far right is coasting. Youth are reacting, that’s good news! “, welcomes Jérôme Faÿnel, 57 years old, historical activist of the Palestinian cause, anonymous in the excited crowd. “I’m proud of you, keep up the fight!” “, launches Valérie Montanier, 50, seizing a megaphone. For the sympathizer of the left, “The political parties of the left do not seize the subject of the extreme right. The youth are mobilizing, it is moving. “

At the head, the Young Guard (JG) brandishes its giant banner, representing a Guignol with a carnivorous grin, painted red, with three arrows in the shape of lightning, in reference to the symbols of the anti-fascist groups of the 1930s. More than 300 young people , on average in their twenties, clap their hands and raise their arms at every Italian slogan: “Siamo tutti antifascisti” (“We are all antifascites”). Organized and disciplined, the JG was created in 2018, in response to the outbursts of the Bastion social, an identity group dissolved in 2019 by the Ministry of the Interior, but whose members still occupy premises in the Old Quarter. Lyon, at the foot of the Fourvière hill. “Even dissolved, the extreme right groups are coming back under other names. They are more and more violent. The speeches of Zemmour and the others encourage them. We don’t want to leave the streets to these people ”, says Raphaël Arnault, spokesperson for the JG, claiming “The renewal of the anti-fascist struggle”.

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