A wave of French anti-gay sentiment may have turned deadly after an 18-year-old gay rights supporter in Paris was killed in a brutal attack by a group of skinheads.
Cl�ment M�ric, a left wing student and supporter of same-sex marriage, was officially pronounced dead on Thursday after he was left brain dead as a result of the attack that has horrified and angered the French public.
The Local reported that M�ric was beaten by the right wing thugs, including a woman, near the Saint-Lazare train station on Wednesday evening following an earlier exchange of words in a clothing store.
One of the attackers reportedly used knuckle dusters in the assault.
A woman, known only as Aurelia, witnessed the attack and described what she saw to the media.
“I saw the young man falling, and his head hitting a bollard. There was blood coming out of his ears and nose, and then he went into convulsions,” she said.
“He had a huge lump at the back of his head, and his face was covered in blood,” she added.
While it is not known if M�ric was gay, he did take part in protests in support of gay marriage.
The authorities have since arrested seven people in connection with the murder.
President Fran�ois Hollande “condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms” while thousand have turned out across Paris to honour the young victim. Another rally is being planned in memory of M�ric.
The shocking attack comes in the wake of the passage of the recent same-sex marriage and gay adoption bill that has divided France and radicalised the right wing.
LGBT rights groups and police have documented a dramatic spike in hate crime attacks against gay people in the country this year.
Correction: An earlier version of this report stated that M�ric was gay. This has not been confirmed.