French government orders neo-Nazi group dissolved

PARIS – The French government said yesterday it has dissolved a neo-Nazi group based in eastern France, following through with a crackdown proposed by Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin earlier this year.

The dissolution of Elsass Korps, a group based in France’s Alsace region, was announced after the French Cabinet’s weekly meeting.

In February, de Villepin pledged to rid France of neo-Nazi groups, saying the number of their violent acts had more than doubled last year.

Neo-Nazi groups in France now count about 3,000 members, and were responsible for 65 violent acts last year – up from 27 in 2003, de Villepin said.

Under a 1936 law, the French president may issue decrees that officially ban and dissolve any groups that provoke discrimination, hate or violence against people based on their ethnicity.

De Villepin said authorities would keep watch over the dissolved groups to assure they do not form again under different names.

France, home to Western Europe’s largest populations of both Jews and Muslims, has faced an upsurge in anti-Semitic and anti-Arab violence over the past several years.

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