A gang that launched a savage knife attack at a French village’s winter ball, killing a teenage boy and injuring 17, told guests, ‘we are here to stab white people’ before the rampage, according to a report.
The 16-year-old high school student, identified only as Thomas, was stabbed at the weekend when a group of outsiders descended on a festive crowd of around 400 people gathered in Crepol, in the southwestern Drome region, for a dance party in the village hall.
He died on his way to hospital. Eight others were injured, two of them seriously.
Far-right activists have been posting videos online that they said were shot during the dance, claiming they allow identification of two of the attackers. The authenticity of the videos has not been verified.
‘We are here to stab white people’, one of the attackers, dressed in overalls and trainers, shouted, according to local newspaper Dauphiné.
The 16-year-old high school student was stabbed at the weekend when a group of outsiders descended on a festive crowd of around 400 people gathered in Crepol for a dance party in the village hall.
The killing has sparked shock and political controversy in France, with the far-right today branding the assault as anti-white racism.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told parliament that seven people had been arrested and investigators would now ascertain if they were behind ‘this odious crime’.
A source close to the case, who asked not to be named, told AFP that the suspected killer was among the seven arrested around the city of Toulouse – some 400 kilometres (250 miles) away – in raids carried out by 50 gendarmes from the elite GIGN unit.
Even before the arrests, far-right politicians had been quick to blame the attack on youths from immigrant backgrounds from public housing, even if police have yet to give details on the identity of those arrested.
‘Now anti-white racism is hitting our countryside,’ Marion Marechal, the leading candidate for the far-right Reconquete! party of ex-presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour in next year’s European elections, claimed on X, formerly Twitter.
Marine Le Pen, figurehead of the far-right National Rally (RN) party and a former presidential candidate, alleged in an interview with the weekly Valeurs Actuelles that ‘armed militia’ were organising ‘raids’.
Zemmour, also on X, claimed: ‘Our martyrs are innocent victims of the war of civilisations.’
Gendarmerie spokeswoman Marie-Laure Pezan on Tuesday said the weekend’s incident was marked ‘by violence that was quite incredible for a village of 500 people’.
Josette Place, a pensioner and member of the village’s events committee, told AFP: ‘This wasn’t a fight, it was an attack’.
Armed with knives and blocks of concrete, ‘they came with the intention to kill’, she said of the attackers.
According to prosecutors, around 10 young people tried to enter Crepol village dance hall Saturday night. One stabbed a guard who stood in their way.
Guests at the dance rushed to help and a fight ensued outside the building during which Thomas was fatally stabbed.
Far-right activists have called for a silent march on Wednesday in Romans-sur-Isere, where Thomas’s high school is located, using hashtags such as #francocide, #Francaisreveillezvous (France Wake Up) or #Racaille (Thugs) in their online posts.
Meanwhile, a gardener named only as Mourad was attacked Friday southwest of Paris with a craft knife by a 75-year-old man, who shouted racist insults and was later detained.
Referring to the killing of Thomas and the attack on Mourad, French hard-left MP Francois Ruffin spoke out against a ‘heavy atmosphere’ in media and social networks ‘as if one had to take a side’.
‘Let us all be bulwarks against these decisions and stay human,’ Ruffin wrote on X.