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Arrests made after Al Jazeera investigation into French far right | Far Right News

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Three far-right activists in France have been charged with aggravated violence after being exposed in an undercover investigation by Al Jazeera.

A fourth activist has been released without charge, the prosecutor’s office in Lille said.

The three men are suspected of violence in an alleged assault filmed by an undercover reporter for Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

The attack was broadcast in a two-part documentary, Generation Hate, released last December. 

The prosecutor’s office did not reveal the names of the three men charged.

A local TV station, France 3, however, named one of them as Remi Falize, a leading figure at the Flanders branch of the far-right group Generation Identity. The branch headquarters is at the Citadelle bar in Lille city centre.

The documentary shows Falize, wearing gloves reinforced with plastic, striking a young woman four times on the head after she is heard using Arabic slang.

Following the assault, Falize was filmed boasting about the attack and suggesting a racist motive. Girl or not, they’re just Arabs, he says.

The three men are due to appear in court on May 10. They have also been banned from going to Rue Masséna where the alleged assault took place, from meeting the victim, and from meeting the other two men who have been charged.

Aurelien Verhassel, the former leader of Generation Identity in Lille and president of the Citadelle organisation, was questioned by police for four hours last week.

The newspaper, La Voix du Nord, has reported that Verhassel was questioned about footage in the documentary in which he is seen brandishing a flash-ball – a riot control gun used by police – at the Citadelle. Verhassel was released without charge.

The two documentaries, released on December 9 and 16, exposed violence and racism at the heart of Generation Identity. 

The investigation which included a six-month undercover operation, also revealed evidence of close links between Identitarian activists and key figures in Marine Le Pen‘s National Front party, which has since changed its name to the National Rally.

In the documentary, two members of the European Parliament, Christelle Lechevalier and Sylvie Goddyn, are seen visiting the Citadelle and expressing support for Generation Identity.

Martine Aubry, the Socialist Party mayor of Lille, expressed shock at the Al Jazeera investigation’s findings and called for the Citadelle to be shut down.

Generation Identity’s national spokesperson publicly distanced the organisation from Verhassel, claiming that he was no longer a member of their movement. Verhassel, however, insists he is still a member.

In a recent press conference, Verhassel claimed that Al Jazeera’s documentary was based on “transient visitors” to the Citadelle who were not linked to the group’s “activist base”.

In response, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit released new evidence, including unreleased footage and internal group discussion messages, which suggested that Remi Falize and Charles Tessier were key activists at the Citadelle.

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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse

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Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa

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If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake

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The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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