Paris student dead after skinhead attack

Flowers and text reading "Fascists get out of our lives" near the spot where Clement Meric was killed
Image caption The attack on Clement Meric took place in a busy shopping area; the text reads "Fascists out of our lives".

A French left-wing activist has died after an attack blamed on skinheads in central Paris.

Clement Meric, an 18-year-old student, was with friends when he was "hit extremely violently" by several men during a fight, officials say.

Several people with links to the far-right have been arrested, according to French media.

French President Francois Hollande said he condemned Wednesday night's attack "in the strongest terms".

Mr Meric - a student at Sciences Po, a leading undergraduate school in Paris - was in a busy shopping district near St Lazare train station when three men described as skinheads and a woman confronted his group.

He was struck by a knuckle-duster and his head hit the ground as he fell, police say.

The teenager was placed on life support but was declared brain dead and died on Thursday.

Left-wing parties have called for a demonstration in Paris later on Thursday.

They have blamed the attack on a fringe far-right group, the Revolutionary Nationalist Youths. However it denied any involvement.

The main far-right party, the National Front, described the incident as "appalling".

Correspondents say it has re-ignited a public debate over the role of small right-wing groups in recent violent protests against gay marriage in France.

A friend of Mr Meric's, Claire Cosquer, told reporters that his death was murder and had happened in the context of "a very worrying rise of radical far-right movements".

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