Jean Messiha, a prominent figure in the French far-right movement, has concluded a contentious crowdfunding campaign that amassed over 1.5 million euros ($1.63 million). The campaign aimed to support a police officer who was incarcerated following the killing of a 17-year-old. An incident that ignited widespread riots across France.
Criticism and legal action have intensified against Messiha’s Gofundme initiative. Alleging that its true purpose was to propagate hate and incite hostility between the far-right and residents of marginalized neighbourhoods with a significant immigrant population.
Concerns have been voiced by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti. Who fear that the campaign’s impact may exacerbate tensions rather than promote calmness. They have cautioned against the potential “instrumentalization” of the situation for divisive motives.
Shooting Incident Sparks Riots and Unrest Across France
The unrest was touched off by the shooting last Tuesday of the young man identified as Nahel, who was stopped while driving a Mercedes in suburban Paris. Subsequently, the violence predominantly involved teenagers from the suburbs and urban housing projects. Expressing their frustration with what they perceived as systemic discrimination by the French state against individuals with immigrant backgrounds. While the intensity of the riots seemed to be subsiding after three nights, reports emerged of the death of a 27-year-old man in Marseille, potentially caused by the use of a “flash ball” projectile commonly employed by French police for riot control.
Family Files Complaint Alleging Deception in Fundraising Efforts
Meanwhile, Messiha celebrated the closure of the crowdfunding campaign in a tweet, praising it as a “historic symbol of national generosity.” He expressed gratitude to the over 100,000 donors who contributed to the initiative. He launched on Friday and surpassed the 1.5 million euros mark. Messiha portrayed the overwhelming response as a “tsunami” of support for law enforcement officers. Whom he believes strives daily to preserve France’s identity.
The crowdfunding campaign became controversial when Messiha boasted that it was outpacing another fundraising effort for Nahel’s family. Subsequently, the family filed a complaint alleging that the crowdfunding was based on deception and aimed to “criminalize” the victim while garnering support for the police officer involved in the shooting. It remains uncertain whether an investigation will be launched in response to the complaint.
Jean Messiha, originally from Egypt, previously had affiliations with the National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen. However, he has since distanced himself from the party and associated with other French far-right groups. Messiha remains an outspoken critic of migration from Africa.