A 16-year-old boy was savagely murdered at a French village’s annual winter ball earlier this month. According to witnesses, the gang of young men responsible for the boy’s death and the corresponding rampage on Nov. 18 made clear they were out to “stab white people.”
In the days since, tensions in the European nation have begun to boil over, prompting the French regime to clamp down on so-called “far-right” groups and to urge citizens not to take the law into their own hands.
Olivier Véran, a socialist spokesman for the French government, stressed Tuesday, “We are lucid. There is a violent minority, which sows terror. But there is no justification for taking the law into your own hands. It is up to the rule of law to provide answers.”
Véran has acknowledged that Thomas’ murder may amount to a “tipping point for French society,” reported the Telegraph.
Given the French government’s trouble containing Algerian race riots in July, which almost did as much damage to France as the BLM riots dealt to the United States throughout 2020, it’s unclear what success the government will have in halting the pendulum on its return.
What’s the background?
The French village of Crépol in the southwestern Drôme region had a winter ball on Nov. 18. Roughly 300 out of the village’s 532 residents were in attendance. A gang of of approximately ten young men — reportedly from the epicenter of July’s Algerian race riots — descended on the village dance, attacking 17 individuals in attendance between the ages of 16 and 65.
On their way in, the group of thugs stabbed a guard, slicing through his fingers.
According to France24, the attackers ultimately murdered a 16-year-old high school student named Thomas. A witness named Hugo indicated that Thomas was stabbed in the heart and throat.
One of Thomas’ friends told Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper that he heard a commotion outside where Thomas, a beloved rugby player who wasn’t “the type to dance,” had gone out for a smoke. Thomas’ friend quickly went outside to investigate.
“I was stabbed in the shoulder and in the back,” said the unnamed teen. “I saw my friend Thomas being stabbed. … I saw another friend of mine get stuck in the back, I compressed his wound to make a tourniquet; he was hit in the kidney. It was horrific.”
The Telegraph reported that one witness told the French press, “There was a fight between the assailants and those who were brave enough to face them.”
A young woman in attendance told Le Dauphiné Libéré, “I heard people say, ‘It’s crashing! It’s crashing! They’ve got knives, leave!’ … There was blood everywhere. It was horrible, it wasn’t something to experience at 16.”
“It was a bloodbath,” said another witness. “Youths from the suburbs surrounded the party hall, blindly stabbing people. … One youth received a heart massage on the floor. It was chaos.”
In addition to murdering Thomas, the outsiders injured eight revelers, two seriously. One of the two victims left in critical condition was stabbed several times in the throat.
Martine Lagut, the mayor, stressed that the “gang turned up to kill.”
“They didn’t come to have fun but to harm,” added the mayor.
Police spokeswoman Marie-Laure Pezan indicated the violence “was quite incredible for a village of 500 people.”
Josette Place, a pensioner and member of Crépol’s events committee, told the French press, “This wasn’t a fight, it was an attack.”
Government spokesman Véran said, “Thomas was 16 years old. He loved rugby, his family, his friends, whose pain and anger I share. He is a victim of the savagery that fell in Crépol. Suspects have been arrested. Justice will punish. Answers will be provided. We owe them.”
Alex Vignon, the coach of Thomas’ rugby team, said, “He was an endearing boy who had values that we instill in rugby.”
Days after the attack, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin revealed to French parliamentarians that police had arrested seven people believed to have had a hand in “this odious crime.” A total of nine suspects are now in custody.
Three of the suspects are minors. The others are between ages 19 and 22.
France24 reported that the suspected killer was arrested near the city of Toulouse, some 250 miles away, during raids conducted by the country’s elite GIGN unit.
Darmanin made clear, “People came from elsewhere, wanted to force their way into this party and stabbings started. It’s called savagery,” reported the Telegraph.
The interior minister added, “It is a general failure of our society. There is a need to rethink the framework of authority.”
Despite the efforts of law enforcement to capture those responsible, protesters have taken to the streets demanding “justice for Thomas.”
Over the weekend, around two dozen protesters were reportedly arrested, six of whom were fast-tracked through court proceedings and sentenced to several months in jail.
Fearing a “mobilisation within the exreme right … would have us tip into civil war,” Darmanin indicated the government is looking at clamping down on groups perceived to be far right and potentially even arresting their members, reported the Local.
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