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French Activist Left Brain Dead After Fight Breaks Out In Paris

An 18-year-old student and activist is on life support after a fight broke out with a group of skinheads in Paris yesterday. Four suspects have since been arrested.

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Clément Méric, an 18-year-old progressive activist, was reportedly assaulted by a group of three skinheads in Paris on Wednesday night, leaving him brain dead:

The interior minister, Manuel Valls, said a fight broke out on Wednesday evening between two groups of young people near the St. Lazare train station.

Police reported that a group of three “skinhead types” found themselves in a shop with another group that included Meric, sparking a scuffle between the groups. Later, outside the shop, the victim “was hit by one of the skinheads who wore a knuckleduster and fell on the pavement, hitting a bollard.” Méric was declared brain dead that night at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. According to Channel4, he was still on life support this morning.

Thursday morning Valls announced that four arrests had been made, including that of the individual suspected of delivering the final punch to Clément Méric. Police described the incident as being "politically motivated".

One anonymous witness told AFP she was leaving work when she saw the fight:

Lots of people were running in every direction and as the young people with shaved heads looked like they were leaving, they came back and suddenly a punch was thrown and the young man fell against the bollard. Afterwards, I looked after the victim who had blood flowing from his ear and nose.

Left-wing activists claim the skinheads were part of the extreme right Revolutionary Nationalist Youth (JNR) group.

Serge Ayoub, the leader of the JNR, says his group was not in any way involved in the incident, adding that the far-left activists actually left the shop first and waited for the skinheads. According to New Europe, Méric was member of the French Left Party (Parti de Gauche), a democratic socialist party.

On Twitter, the incident exploded in france with the name of the victim, JNR, #Nopasaran, and #antifa seen as popular tags:

Clément Méric, tué le 05/06/13, #NoPasaran, vu à #Lyon ce matin #antifa

ACLibertaire

@ACLibertaire

Clément Méric, tué le 05/06/13, #NoPasaran, vu à #Lyon ce matin #antifa

UMP leader Jean-François Copé called the attack "barbaric."

Je condamne avec la plus grande force l’agression barbare dont a été victime un jeune homme de 18 ans en plein Paris http://t.co/eeJ2ovguWM

Jean-François Copé

@jf_cope

Je condamne avec la plus grande force l’agression barbare dont a été victime un jeune homme de 18 ans en plein Paris http://t.co/eeJ2ovguWM

UMP candidate for Paris mayor, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, tweeted that "such violence is a cancer on democracy."

je vous invite à un rassemblement républicain pour condamner la violence politique à 18h15 devant le 64 boulevard Haussmann.

N. Kosciusko-Morizet

@nk_m

je vous invite à un rassemblement républicain pour condamner la violence politique à 18h15 devant le 64 boulevard Haussmann.

According to The Local, french pro-marriage equality activist Pierre Bergé has implicated the anti-marriage equality movement "Manif Pour Tous" in the attack on Méric.

Frederic Nebinger / Getty Images

He tweeted, "Despite everyone who's insulting me, I say again: the Manif pour tous accepted into their ranks these fascists who killed Clément. For them to reflect on."

Euronews covered the story:

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