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France court opens neo-Nazi trial

[JURIST] The trial of 14 members of a neo-Nazi [JURIST news archive] group, Nomad 88, opened Monday before the criminal court of Evry, in the Parisian suburbs. Founded in 2008 to "purge" the suburbs, the group gained public attention in May 2008 when three members went on a shooting spree [Rue89 report, in French] in an area with a strong population of immigrant origin. Following their arrest, the police seized a haul of weapons, including machine guns, along with a large quantity of ammunition and extremist literature. During the hearing [AFP report, in French], one of the defendants claimed they wanted to "clear out" the "no-go" areas in the suburbs. The trial is expected to last through Friday.

Nomad 88 formed as a result of the 2005 civil unrest, when tension between the police and the youths of the suburbs was at its height, leading the government to decree that the country was in a state of emergency [JURIST report]. Though extremist far-right groups represent only a fringe movement, the phenomenon is considered worrying because they operate in semi-clandestinity, and subsist despite efforts to clamp down on them [JURIST report].

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