This footage shows a far-right security guard working for Marine Le Pen allegedly manhandling a Jewish student handing out flyers at a National Front rally before knocking him to the ground.
The security guard and others allegedly beat the student and his friends with a truncheon, punched one of them in the face, wrestled them to the ground, sprayed tear gas in their faces, and broke their phone, according to the students.
The ‘Union des Etudiants Juifs de France’ (the French Union of Jewish Students; UEJF) said its president was among those attacked, as well as other students. As a result, four students are reported in local media as having filed a complaint for “assault” with the police in Metz over the incident.
The RN has said that one of its security agents had been injured in the incident and was signed off work for 30 days. They say he was “seriously injured” and have also reportedly filed a complaint.
Hot on the heels of a surge in antisemitism in France and across Europe, this footage shows a security guard working for the French far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party – which used to be the Front National – working an event at which its leader Marine Le Pen spoke.
The burly security guard takes issue with a Jewish student distributing leaflets despite the latter’s claims that he is in a public space. The situation quickly escalates as the security guard attempts to make the student and the person filming leave the area.
The incident took place at the Metz-Expo event centre in the city of Metz in the Moselle department in north-eastern France when Marine Le Pen was attending a “Patriotic Banquet”.
Towards the end of the video, the student can be seen with what appears to be mace in his face after apparently being sprayed with it.
The footage was shared online by the UEJF, which is an organisation that campaigns against racism and antisemitism, with over 15,000 members.
The video has notched up over 100,000 views on their Twitter handle alone. It has also been widely condemned in French media.
According to the RN, which condemned the “brutal and anti-democratic agents”, “some of the UEJF militants became provocative at the rally. They attacked the participants and tried to enter into the events hall. The RN security service contained them. They then turned violent”.
The UEJF issued a communique on its Facebook page, stating: “The President of the UEJF and the militants of the UEJF have been attacked physically by the RN in Metz. […] Activists of the UEJF went to the “Patriotic Banquet” of the National Rally in Metz. The aim was to peacefully hand out flyers to warn of the dangers of extreme right-wing politics in Europe in the run-up to the European elections.
“While handing out leaflets had just begun, members of the service of the National Rally (Security Protection Department, DPS) violently attacked several activists of the UEJF. Five of them were attacked.
“Two activists were thrown to the ground and were sprayed with tear gas. One of the activists attending the scene came to help the president of the UEJF, thrown to the ground who received tear gas.
“He was also sprayed with tear gas in his eyes and punched in the face. Another was beaten on the body with a truncheon while another activist was shoved by the security guards who destroyed their phone.
“Shocked by so much violence, we are however lucid. The National Front may have changed its name, but the hatred remains the same. We have filed a complaint for assault and battery with a weapon against the DPS, the RN’s security service. […]
“For the UEJF, this umpteenth aggression by members of Marine Le Pen’s RN demonstrates once again the violence of a political party that hates democracy and chooses violence in response to a political argument.
“For Sacha Ghozlan, President of the UEJF: ‘Despite this particularly violent scene that demonstrates once again that this party is part of a hateful logic, we will not let ourselves be terrorised by the far right. If the security service of a political party is able to attack its political opponents, it foretells the worst if Marine Le Pen’s RN takes power […]'”.
The UEJF has also called for the dissolution of the RN’s security service, the DPS.
Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme, said in a statement: “The RN may try to polish its image, the layers of paint will never be thick enough to hide its deep nature”.