Anti-gay marriage protesters clash with police in Paris
Anti-gay marriage protesters clash with police in Paris

The French government is considering banning a far-right group believed to be planning violence at a protest against the country's new gay marriage laws on Sunday 26 May.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced that he was considering outlawing the Printemps Français (French Spring) group after it released a statement threatening to target "the government and all its appendices, the collaborating political parties and lobbies where the ideological programmes are developed and the organs which spread it".

"This is a call to violence," Valls told radio station France Info, and said there had been a number of death threats, which he does not "take lightly".

"Justice will have to act because it is intolerable that in the Republic there can be these messages of hate," he continued. "There is no place for groups that challenge the Republic, democracy and which also attack individuals."

The group gathers under its banner several extreme nationalist and fascist splinter groups. The historian Dominique Venner, 78, who committed suicide on Tuesday on the altar of Notre Dame cathedral, had ties with the organisation.

Authorities believe that Venner's suicide note may have been a call to arms. In it he writes that France was "now subject to forces which wish to reduce it to servitude. The battle is only just beginning. It will continue until victory is won."

Mr Valls said the splinter groups planned to go along to Sunday's protest in Paris "not to demonstrate but to... attack symbols of a Republic, which these far-right groups hate."

Amongst their targets is believed to be satirist turned anti-gay marriage movement figurehead Frijide Barjot, who provoked their ire by describing Venner's suicide as "deranged" and "un-Catholic" and describing herself as "anti-gay marriage but not anti-gay."

Printemps Français, which adopted its moniker as an echo of the so-called Arab Spring movement, is believed to be behind violence at a number of anti-gay marriage protests.

Reacting to Valls' announcement, the group's leader Beatrice Bourges told French TV channel Tele: "It means that everything that is not politically correct or conformist will be punished in our country."

"I'm sad that in this country we have reached such a denial of democracy. There has never been a call to violence," she added.