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France to Shut Down Extremist Website Linked to Chirac Assassination Attempt - 2002-08-08


A French court has ordered the shutdown of a website run by an extreme-right group with links to the man suspected of trying to assassinate President Jacques Chirac last month.

A Jewish student union and an anti-racism organization brought the case against the newly-banned extremist group Radical Unity. It said the website violated French laws against inciting racial hatred and violence.

Maxime Brunerie, a member of Radical Unity, was arrested last month after he fired a rifle as President Chirac passed by during the Bastille Day military parade in Paris. As he raised the weapon and fired, bystanders pushed the barrel into the air and wrestled Mr. Brunerie to the ground. No one was injured in the incident.

Radical Unity has two days to shut down its website. If it does not comply with the court's order, it will face a daily fine of nearly $5,000.

In light of the court's decision, Radical Unity has established a new website which declares the organization had nothing to do with the attempt on President Chirac's life. It denounces the court's decision and says France is a "democratic dictatorship".

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