The Generation Identity movement launched an anti-migrant operation in the Pyrenees based on a recent decision by the prefect of Haute-Garonne to close the Col du Portillon. About thirty activists took part in the action.
The Generation Identity (GI) movement launched on January 19 a new “Defend Europe” operation aimed at monitoring the Franco-Spanish border. The regional daily South West reports about thirty militants patrolling in three pickups “around the Col du Portillon near Bagnères-de-Luchon in Haute-Garonne”, in an attempt to identify possible illegal migrants in the area and report them to the forces of order.
“We went to this crossing point to demand the total closure of the border and to support the police,” he told Marianne Thaïs d’Escufon, spokesperson for the movement.
In a statement relayed on the Telegram application and translated into several languages, the association declared that it was acting in line with the decision of the Haute-Garonne prefecture to temporarily close the Col du Portillon, from January 6.
According to the press release, the prefect Etienne Guyot had justified the decision by a “high” terrorist threat and “movements of migrants which remain supported”. An article by La Dépêche du Midi of January 7 explained that filtering operations were carried out by the police on the road to this pass, within the framework of “border control and the fight against terrorism”.
A hunt for migrants in the mountains
“Faced with this resurgence of the Islamist threat and massive illegal entry, Generation Identity is mobilizing,” explains the organization. The aim of the operation, carried out under the Defend Europe label, is to monitor “possible infiltration zones near Spain”.
In the event of detected migrants, Génération Identitaire promised to contact “the police and gendarmerie forces immediately so that illegal migrants are arrested and deported”.
Thaïs d’Escufon indicated in the afternoon on Telegram that he was “currently at the Col du Portillon alongside [ses] identity comrades to secure our borders ”.
“Generation Identity behaves like a“ border guard ”. Their dissolution is imperative and urgent. Republican order must be ensured by the public force, not by far-right militias, ”the Licra was indignant on its Twitter account.
Generation Identity acts as a “border guard”. Their dissolution is imperative and urgent. Republican order must be ensured by the public force, not by far-right militias. https://t.co/iyZBiNdPqi
– Licra (@_LICRA_) January 19, 2021
The group had already launched a similar operation in the Alps on the Franco-Italian border in 2018. Sentenced for the first time, the movement was released on December 16 by the Grenoble Court of Appeal. They were accused of having “exercised an activity under conditions creating confusion with a public function”.