French police arrest far-right extremists on charges of preparing a coup d’état

On October 22, French police arrested the far-right extremist Remy Daillet for “plans for coups d’état and other violent actions,” and “association with criminal terrorist actors.” He allegedly led a 300-person nation-wide fascist paramilitary organisation, which had planned attacks on the Élysée presidential palace and other institutions in a coup d’état.

Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann, a former French politician whose popularity grew when he spread QAnon-style conspiracy theories, appears in court in Nancy, France on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, on charges he orchestrated the kidnapping of an 8-year-old girl whose mother had lost custody of her. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Details remain murky, and depend on statements by officers of the General Directorate of Interior Security (DGSI) spy agency, as well as internal DGSI reports reviewed by the Parisien newspaper.

On April 12, Daillet allegedly emailed multiple deputies and senators, threatening them with violence in response to the imposition of mandatory vaccination. “The Republic is no longer the dominant idea,” he said, warning that “the hour of reckoning” had come and that “the popular overthrow is inevitable” against a “genocidal” government that had promoted “a vaccine that kills… It’s the last chance we’re giving you. it’s a matter of days, of weeks.”

Daillet allegedly wrote on March 17 to one of his paramilitary groupings, “It is obvious force will have to be used.” Although a deputy subsequently reported the email to the police, Daillet was arrested only in October.

Little has been published about the specific details of a plot. On October 27, the Parisien published an exclusive report based on access to the statements made by some of the 14 people questioned in relation to the case, as well as an internal DGSI dossier.

The organisation, named “Honour and Nation,” included both a “civilian” and “military” branch, the latter arranged into a paramilitary structure, separated into hierarchies, with different levels of “commanders,” “grenadiers,” and “infantrymen.” According to the DGSI, it had 300 members.

Daillet envisaged the infiltration of his recruits into positions to destroy 5G networks, vaccination centers, and vaccine stockpiles. “A pair on motorbikes, with number plates covered and with their helmets closed, could throw a Molotov cocktail through the window” of vaccine centers, read one of their text message communications.

The day of action, for which no date has been identified, would involve a direct attack on the Élysée Palace and “nerve centers of the capital,” including the National Assembly and the Senate. They would also take control of media in order to control live broadcasts. “The aim would have been to control broadcasts as long as possible before police removed us, to stay at least 3-4 hours before we were removed,” Sylvain P., one of the “captains” of the paramilitary organisation in the Ile-de-France region around Paris, said during questioning.

One of Daillet’s associates described the planned coup in terms similar to the January 6 fascist coup attempt led by then-US President Donald Trump in Washington: “It’s the final operation that involves mobilising the maximum number of people, of protesters… The protest would be of a large size, everyone would be overwhelmed and that would proceed to the overthrow of the government and state structures.”

Two members of the French army were placed in charge the organisation’s paramilitary branch. Christophe M., 63, a former lieutenant-colonel of the French army, decorated with the Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit, was named “recruiting officer” and tasked with leading the paramilitary wing. His tasks included recruiting “captains” for each geographical region, coordinating their actions, selecting troops and “preparing them for war” for the attack on the Élysée, according to the Parisien.

On November 9, StreetPass revealed that Francis Maginot, acting under the pseudonym “Colonel 15,” had been the predecessor of Christophe M. in the organisation until January 2021. Maginot had stood as a candidate for the far-right National Front of Marine Le Pen in the 2012 elections for overseas French citizens in central, eastern and southern Africa.

Maginot admitted under questioning that he had been responsible for recruitment and “coordination of action groups,” and especially for the recruitment of army and police officers. A police search of Maginot’s home found an unlicensed revolver and a large collection of fascist literature, including a French-language copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Chat conversations also revealed Maginot had made suggestions for “improving” an improvised bomb-making recipe.

There were allegedly 36 “captains” recruited across France. The Parisien notes that the organisation included “many” active-duty military and police, including military personnel now deployed overseas. “Certain of these had published their willingness to overthrow the executive.”

Another 14 people have been questioned by police in connection with the plot. Some allegedly made concrete preparations for terror attacks. During a February anti-vaccine protest organised by Florian Philippot of the Patriots party, Sylvain P., reportedly the brother of a deputy in the National Assembly, and Clément R. received a recipe for making ammonium nitrate bombs from a chemistry teacher who was a supporter of the group. The following day, Clément R. and Sylvain P. contacted gardeners to obtain different requisite elements for the bomb.

Daillet, 55, reportedly commanded the group from his home in Malaysia, where he was living until recently. In 2007, Daillet joined the right-wing Democratic Movement of François Bayrou shortly after its founding, becoming its leader in the Haute-Garonne region until 2010. He was expelled on March 27, 2010, reportedly for secretly recording discussions at a national council meeting of the party.

Dailet’s personal website and social media pages are filled with far-right conspiracy theories. In addition to being an opponent of 5G telecommunications and vaccines, he opposes abortion and supports the QAnon conspiracy theory in the United States.

In one video, Daillet states that he will “overthrow the government of the Republic, completely bought-and-paid-for by the moneyed powers, I will cancel COVID-19 masking, which is scientifically useless, end the lockdowns… I will ban freemasonry and other dangerous sects … outlaw the campaign of mass vaccination…”

The existence of the plot and the fascist terror network represents a serious warning to the working class in France and Europe. No one should believe that the intelligence agencies and state apparatus represent a bulwark for democracy against the threat of a fascist coup. In fact, the large participation of police and armed forces personnel in the network is yet another demonstration that such networks develop within the capitalist state.

Just days after Daillet’s April letter to French deputies and Senators, retired army officers published a letter in the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles threatening a coup d’état.

The far-right has also been consistently strengthened by the Macron government itself, which since coming to office has strengthened the powers of the police, deployed the army and police forces against “yellow vest” protesters, publicly lauded Nazi-collaborationist dictator Philippe Pétain as a “great soldier,” and put in place “anti-separatist” laws targeting Muslim associations. There is no progressive or democratic faction of the capitalist establishment.

The fascists do not constitute a mass movement in the working class or middle class. However, they are systematically promoted as part of the preparations of the capitalist class to suppress social opposition from below in the working class, amid rising social inequality and class tensions.

The mobilisation of such political filth behind the anti-vaccination movement is also a political exposure of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and other pseudo-left groups, which promoted the far-right protests organised by Florian Philippot against Macron’s “Health pass” as a democratic struggle.

The answer to the danger of fascism must come from a mass movement in the working class, the broad mass of the population, against every faction of the capitalist state and its political representatives, as part of a movement for socialism.