Yona and a fellow activist protesting against foreign rapists via official Instagram account of Collectiv Nemesis.


French teen feminist arrested over ‘Foreign rapists out’ protest


A 19-year-old girl has been arrested by police in France for holding up a sign calling for the expulsion of foreign rapists.

Named as “Yona”, the teenager’s father’s house where she lives was also raided by the police and her computer equipment seized.

She is an activist with the Nemesis Collective – a right-wing feminist organisation often denounced as “far-right” by its opponents.

During a city carnival on April 7, the teenager and another girl unfurled banners and held placards up. One read: “Foreign rapists out” and another: “Free us from immigration”.

After being held by police for 10 hours, Yona was released on the evening of April 9.

Officers acted following a complaint about “incitement to hatred or violence because of origin” was filed by Anne Vignot, Mayor of Besançon in Eastern France and a member of The Greens party.

A third banner shown by Collective members in the city centre read: “46 women could have been spared if the OQTF [which targets foreigners staying in France irregularly] had been applied in 2023”.

The police also want to interrogate the other girl.

According to a Collective spokesperson, the speed with which Yona was taken into custody after the Mayor’s complaint “raises questions about the independence of justice and its political neutrality”.

“What justified such procedures? Our activists are treated as potential terrorists when their only wrong was to demand the application of the law.”

The group said in a statement the incident represented “a persecution”.

It noted that members were “simply asking for the application of French law, namely the expulsion of foreign rapists”.

The feminist organisation stressed that its members’ actions in Besançon aimed to illustrate what it said were flaws in the French justice system.

“We also recall that this wish to see the law better applied was formulated by the former Minister for Gender Equality Marlène Schiappa, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin and by President Emmanuel Macron themselves,” the statement said.

The Collective claimed it “is a serious moment for all French women” and asked: “Do we have the right to denounce our attackers if they are foreigners?”

In a post on social media, the group pointed out that the Mayor of Besançon had campaigned for Afghan refugees to be located in her town.

In August last year, a young woman was reportedly sexually assaulted by one of the refugees in Besançon.

If Yona and others are convicted for “incitement to hatred or violence against a group of people because of their origin or an alleged race”, they face a 12-month prison term and a fine of €45,000 each.

Frédéric Pichon, the Collective’s legal representative, vehemently criticised what he described as “a misuse of legal processes serving a political agenda, constituting a direct assault on freedom of expression”.

“These are methods of intimidation. Being hostile to immigration is the expression of an opinion,” the lawyer told Le Figaro newspaper.

Pichon said he would be filing an official complaint over “infringements of individual liberty” by a person holding public authority.