France, despite its reputation as a beacon of progressive liberalism, has been at the forefront of a burgeoning pan-European far-right movement.
Marine Le Pen, an anti-immigration Eurosceptic who may well top the first round of France’s presidential election on 23 April, is riding a populist insurgency that has been growing over the past 15 years.
Its themes are familiar in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit: concern for hardworking people, support for traditional values, and opposition to immigration and supranational busybodies.
But the most distinctive characteristic of France’s patriotic surge is youth. Unlike their contemporaries in the US and the UK, the under-30s in France are more nationalistic than the general population.
At the radical end of the movement are the “identitaires”, or identitarians – the equivalent of the American alt-right.
Who are the identitarians?
Their standard bearers are Génération Identitaire (GI), a group that specialises in publicity stunts that it films and posts online to advertise its fight to reclaim French territory said to have been lost to foreign migrants.
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