On May 9, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin asked the prefects throughout France to ban all events and protests organized by “the far right or the ultra-right.” In Paris alone, the police prefecture banned six such events last weekend, including a symposium organized by the Iliade Institute.
The symposium that was to take place on Sunday aimed to honor the memory of Dominique Venner, a historian who took his life exactly 10 years ago in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris as a “sacrifice” to “break with the lethargy that is overwhelming us,” to “awaken slumbering consciences.”
“I rebel against fate. I protest against poisons of the soul and the desires of invasive individuals to destroy the anchors of our identity, including the family, the intimate basis of our multi-millennial civilization,” he said in a message read after his death.
In one of the six decisions taken by the police prefect in Paris last weekend to comply with the order of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne’s government, an administrative court overturned the ban against a conference and a march organized by the royalist organization Action Française to commemorate Joan of Arc. It was thus allowed to proceed and did so without disrupting public order, just like in previous years.
The organizers of the Iliade Institute’s symposium, however, were informed so late – less than 24 hours before their planned event – that it was impossible to obtain an interim measure in their favor by a court. Hence, when the persons invited to the symposium turned out at the venue rented out by the Iliade Institute in Paris, a police cordon barred their entry.
Laurent Nuñez, the police prefect of Paris, motivated the ban by stating in his decision that:
There is a serious risk that, on the occasion of this tribute, statements inciting hatred and discrimination against a group of people because of their origin or their membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, nation or religion will be made (…) of such a nature as to call into question national cohesion and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.
This is exactly what preventive censorship is about: Nothing has yet been done or said by the Iliade Institute or any participant to the banned symposium, but this might happen, so it should not take place at all.