“We refuse the Islamisation of our land and we also refuse the mass immigration bringing Islam, because ultimately this massive immigration can only end with what we call the ‘Grand Replacement’, the demographic replacement of our population by another.”
Génération Identitaire, a youth wing of French far-right movement Bloc Identitaire, is set to open a bar – La Citadelle – on Saturday, 24 September, in Lille, a city in northern France.
The youth movement, which was founded in 2012, claims to fight “the standardisation of peoples and culture and a tidal wave of mass immigration”. Verhassel Aurélien, president of La Citadelle and leader of Lille’s branch of Génération Identitaire, told the IPF:
“We believe that our closest brothers are our siblings, then our compatriots and then other Europeans. That’s why we defend our identity when it’s under attack, threatened by immigration, Islamisation and cultural globalisation.”
“Typical Flemish place”
Verhassel wants La Citadelle to be a place “where people can live their identity”. He explained that the “house of identity”, as he described the bar, is a “typical Flemish place”, meaning it looks like traditional bars in Flanders, a region in the north of Belgium. They also plan to use the space to hold conferences and other political activities.
AIDEZ-NOUS À SÉCURISER LA CITADELLE !
— Génération ID (@G_IDENTITAIRE) September 21, 2016
Although the bar will be opened to anyone who “shows good spirit”, Verhassel noted the bar is only for “Flanders lovers.”
Over 59,000 people have signed a petition urging Génération Identitaire to not open the bar. One of the comments below the petition says that “fascism has no place in the public space”.
“Extremism is dangerous”
Marie, a 23-year-old living in Lille, also doesn’t agree with Génération Identitaire’s values and doesn’t want the bar to open in her city.
“Extremism is dangerous, and extremists groups tend to have crazy ideas, so I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to have a place where they can all gather.”
She added: “I hope the bar won’t cause any problems, but I don’t believe it’s going to be always peaceful. Specially because it will be in the city centre where there are all sorts of people.”
After the petition was launched, Génération Identitaire decided to start its own petition asking the people of Lille to support La Citadelle and what it stands for. Verhassel said:
“We thought we were in a democracy, why wouldn’t we be allowed to express ourselves?”
Occupied a new mosque and protested in Calais
Génération Identitaire is already well-known among French people. In 2012, the group occupied a new mosque in Lille to protest against the influence of Islam in France. And earlier this year, they protested in Calais, where they blocked bridges leading from refugees camps to the city centre.
“Our ancestors fought for centuries against attacks from the Islamic world, and now our politicians are welcoming them against the will of native Europeans?”
Verhassel continued: “We refuse the Islamisation of our land and we also refuse the mass immigration that’s bringing Islam, because ultimately this massive immigration can only end with what we call the ‘Grand Replacement’, the demographic replacement of our population by another.”
Younger generation should “fight for their identity”
Génération Identitaire believes the younger generation should “fight for their identity”. He also emphasised the reasons why some French young people already support the far-right movement. He said:
“Young Europeans want to be connected with their land, their traditions, and this is what we call to live their identity. Today they are fed up with the way the government treats them as foreigners in their own country.”
Marie, who is currently studying to become a professional musician, encourages all young people who support Génération Identitaire to “educate themselves”. She said: “Get out of your apartment, see the world with your own eyes and talk to people with a different history than yours.”
Génération Identitaire has opened similar bars in Nice, Lyon and Roeu. They are planning to open the next one in Paris.