On June 5, 2013, several anti-fascists, including 18-year old Clément Méric, interrupted a Nazi shopping trip to a Ben Sherman and Fred Perry sample sale in Paris. The fascist skinheads, aligned with the Jeunesses nationalistes révolutionnaires (“Revolutionary Nationalist Youth”)—a since-banned Third Positionist group whose motto, “Believe, obey, fight,” is an obvious reference to Italian fascism—were fitted with bomber jackets and Blood and Honor tattoos. Words were exchanged, reinforcements were called, and soon a brawl would commence outside.
While the anti-fascists waited in the streets below, store security advised the fascist skinheads to leave through a different exit and avoid confrontation. Instead, they charged out with weapons, including knuckledusters, per witnesses in the shop. In the course of the fight, Clément, a young college student and LGBT activist, who was active with Action Antifasciste Paris-Banlieue (“Anti-Fascist Action Paris-Suburbs”), was punched unconscious by one of the fascist skinheads, Esteban Morillo. The next morning, June 6, Clément, who had just survived leukemia and had his whole life ahead of him, was declared brain dead and died in the hospital.
Although Morillo cried out “One shot!” at the time of the fight, he admitted to authorities that he had punched Clément twice. Witnesses say they saw Morillo with knuckledusters or “a shiny object in his hands” at the time of the fight, and several pairs were found later in his home. A medical report, however, indicates that Clément was punched at least five times, and leaves open the possibility of a second attacker. Two years later, Morillo and one other fascist from the fight, Samuel Dufour, have yet to stand trial for the charge of “violence unintentionally leading to death.” It is worth noting that authorities found copious amounts of fascist and explicitly Nazi propaganda on Dufour’s USB drive—swastikas, Nazi eagles, a map of France covered with the logo of the National Front, as well as “White Power” inscriptions. There were also pictures of Adolf Hitler, including one with the French flag and the slogan: “We want a French Hitler.”
Clément’s death at the hands of fascists shocked France. Two days afterwards, there was a huge demonstration in Paris, as well as protests in Marseille, Grenoble and Spain. The French government banned the Jeunesses nationalistes révolutionnaires, and its parent organization Troisième voie (“Third Way”), as well as Envie de rêver (“Dare to Dream”), and the Vichy-longing L’Œuvre française (“The French Organization”) in the wake of public outcry over the murder. Students and teachers tearfully sang the “Chant des partisans” in front of the university he attended. This Saturday, on the two year anniversary of Clément’s death, there will once again be thousands on the streets of Paris. We join them in saying:
WE DO NOT FORGIVE & WE DO NOT FORGET!