Paris faculty bans far-right student union

April 28, 1995

A Paris university law faculty has banned an extreme right-wing student union from its premises after 20 years of unhampered activity there.

The board of governors of Assas Paris II law faculty decided to remove the UDEA's right to a meeting room, noticeboard and to organise following a month of attacks in which eight people were injured, some seriously.

The group, formerly known as GUD, had made Assas its main power base. The socialist UNEF-ID student union, whose activists have been the main target of far-right attacks, welcomed the move, saying "it will at last be possible to apply the law in the law faculty".

Since the start of the academic year, UNEF-ID has filed a series of complaints against UDEA, whose attacks escalated in March. In the last of the assaults a group of women students handing out UNEF-ID leaflets outside the faculty were beaten up.

Two UDEA activists, who also injured a policeman, are still in detention following the attack, while the leader of another extreme right-wing student group, Renouveau, wanted by the police, is on the run.

Pierre Oldoni, one of the two detained, had been expelled from the university. He had previously been in trouble with police for illegal possession of a firearm, violence and resisting arrest.

Philippe Ardant, president of Paris II University, has in the past been accused of weakness and even connivance in his handling of far right activists. But he has taken a firm line over the banning.

"The violence at Assas must be eradicated and the university must be cleansed of its extreme right image," he said after the board decision.

Assas is one of France's top law departments and is thought to have several dozen far-right militants among its 19,000 students. In recent student elections, its support crumbled and UNEF-ID emerged as the foremost student union at the faculty.

But the banning order has not entirely eliminated the problem. UDEA activists have since made their base in the university cafeteria and are reported to be continuing to intimidate other students.

The university has set up special security surveillance, in co-operation with the Paris police.

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