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France: Ultranationalist movements

Last modified: 2016-11-25 by ivan sache
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The flag used by the man who aimed at Jacques Chirac on 14 July 2002

[Brunerie's flag]

Ultra-nationalist flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 July 2002

On 14 July 2002 around 10:00, avenue des Champs-Elysées, a 25-year old man by the name of Maxime Brunerie aimed at President Jacques Chirac's command car with a .22 rifle. The lone gunman stood among the crowd of onlookers who waited for the beginning of the Bastille Day parade. He was immediatly brought under control by two witnesses who had seen the rifle. One of them, a psychiatric male nurse, had noticed Brunerie's weird behaviour. After having controlled him, he was able to prevent him to commit suicide. It seems that the gunman shot once, but his rifle was turned off course upwards by the second witness. The bullet has not been found yet.
According to ballistic experts, the probability for the President to have been shot was extremely low in that configuration, but other people could have been hit by the gunman, not to mention the wave of panic that could have swept through the crowd.
Brunerie was immediatly arrested and questioned. Yesterday, he was confined to a special protected unit in a mental hospital because of his delirious behaviour. Psychiatric experts shall decide in the forthcoming days whether he will be considered as fully responsible of his acts and tried accordingly.

Several newspapers have investigated Brunerie's background. It was rapidly shown that Brunerie was a member of small groups of neo-Nazis and football hooligans. It seemed he had announced "a brilliant act" on neo-Nazi bulletin boards and to his friends, who had not believed him.The daily Figaro (conservative) published today a series of papers on the French ultra-right. The front page of the Figaro dated 17 July 2002 shows a colour picture taken by the photograph Paul Delort during the 1st May 2002 ultra-right demonstration in Rivoli street, in the center of Paris. On the right of the picture, the man wearing a blue shirt is Maxime Brunerie, the 14 July gunman. He waved a red flag, apparently 1:2, charged with a black Celtic cross inscribed in a white disk. The disk is skewed to the flag hoist.
The flag is variation of the neo-Nazi flags using the Celtic cross. The design of the flag is a straightforward reference to the Nazi flag (red field, white disk, black symbol) and the Celtic cross is one of the neo-Nazis' prefered symbols.
However, the flag used by Brunerie cannot be attributed to a specific movement. Brunerie was a member of the GUD and later of UR. In May 2001, he was candidate to the municipal election in Paris (18th arrondissement) on the MNR list, which had tried to attract supporters of the ultra-rightist movements.

Ivan Sache, 16 July 2002