Thirteen people affiliated with the ultra-right Barjols group appear from Tuesday in Paris, suspected of having prepared a series of violent actions including a plan to attack Emmanuel Macron at the end of 2018, on the sidelines of the centenary of the armistice.
On the internet, on the telephone or during meetings with paramilitary accents, the suspects would also have fomented a “putsch”, assassinations of migrants or attacks on mosques, according to the indictment which referred to the criminal court these 11 men and two women, aged 26 to 66.
None of these projects, however, has seen the start of execution and, after four years of investigation, the scope of the file has been revised downwards: the criminal qualification, initially retained, has been abandoned in favor of the offense of association of criminals with a view to the preparation of acts of terrorism, punishable by ten years of imprisonment.
The defense sees it as the sign of a fragile file, built on the “fiction of a passage to violent action” and on a “totally abusive terrorist characterization”, according to the formula of Me Lucile Collot. The case begins at the end of 2018 with a tip. Internal intelligence is the recipient of information according to which an ultra-right militant from Isère, Jean-Pierre Bouyer, is considering attacking Emmanuel Macron on the occasion of the commemorations of the armistice planned for the beginning of November in the east of France. France. An anti-terrorism investigation is opened on October 31.
The social climate is then in turmoil. A surge in fuel prices during the summer gave rise to a vast discontent which will lead on November 17 to the founding act of the movement of “yellow vests”.
Weapons and writings
On November 6, the police took action. Mr. Bouyer, then 62 years old, was arrested with three other men close to the ultra-right as they went to the home of one of them in Moselle. In the Peugeot 406 of this former mechanic, converted into a director of logging in Gabon, are found a “commando” type dagger and a military vest. Firearms and ammunition were seized from his home.
Investigators are also interested in the writings of this sexagenarian with a clean record who, on Facebook, calls for “eliminating those who seek to harm you” and targets the head of state, described as “hysterical little dictator”. During police custody, Mr. Bouyer slips that he wanted to “kill Macron” and suggested to one of his co-defendants, wishing to take action during a “crowd bath”, to use a ceramic blade undetectable. Words that he will later describe as simple words.
“He admits that it could have been a subject of discussion but assures that it was never more than that”, indicates to AFP his lawyer Olivia Ronen, who regrets that the investigation “‘forgot’ to replace” his client’s anti-Macron remarks “in the context of the time”.
The investigators then proceed to other arrests in the movement of the “Barjols”, a small group of nationalist ultra-right formed on Facebook in 2017 and of which Mr. Bouyer was a leader. Arrested in March 2020, Denis Collinet, 63, is the leader of this collective follower of the theory of “great replacement” and secret meetings. One of them, near Vigy (Moselle), will bring together eight of the defendants and will constitute, according to the investigators, the “high point” of the preparation of violent actions, among which to “blow up” mosques or kill the leader of State.
Plans to kidnap MPs and a putsch are also discussed during these meetings, during which participants practice shooting or first aid. “It is established that the projects of violent action conceived by the members of the Barjols group (…) were aimed exclusively at seriously disturbing public order through intimidation or terror”, concluded the investigating magistrates.
According to a defense lawyer, Me Gabriel Dumenil, the defendants share a “contesting vision of the government” and “sometimes extreme” remarks. “But does this reflect a desire to take action and attempt the life of the Head of State? No”.
Scheduled end of trial on February 3.