Six arrested over Lyon vigilante attacks against alleged anti-Semites

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Six people have been arrested for attacks on individuals performing the 'quenelle', a gesture associated with anti-Semitism, on social networks.

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French police have arrested six Jews they believe staged vigilante attacks against suspected anti-Semites, reports The Jerusalem Post.

The attacks occurred on December 21 in Lyon and December 22 in nearby Villeurbanne and are believed to have been perpetrated by members of France’s Jewish Defense League, or Ligue de Defense Juive (LDJ), the local branch of the militant group associated with the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.

The victims were targeted on social networks and tracked down for performing the “quenelle,” a gesture conceived by the anti-Semitic comedian and Holocaust denier Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the Le Progres daily reported.

On Tuesday, LDJ wrote on its Twitter account: “Two major punitive actions were carried out Saturday and Sunday in Lyon against people who performed the quenelle. The little Nazis are no longer at ease!”

The attack December 22 involved six young members of LDJ, the newspaper reported. The report said they beat a man suspected of performing the quenelle and locked him inside the trunk of a parked car. The report, which named neither the suspects nor the alleged victim, said two of the six were arrested that night and the remaining four were arrested the following day. Two were remanded to police custody Tuesday on suspicion of assault, Le Progres reported. The report did not say how badly the man was hurt.

In recent weeks, the quenelle has been widely discussed in French media because many French Jews see it as sign of mounting anti-Semitism.

According to Le Progres, the first attack began late on Dec. 21 and was directed at an employee of the Mama Shelter Hotel in Lyon. A few small teams entered the hotel looking for the employee, who was not named, while their friends stayed outside, the report said.