President Francois Hollande has condemned the fatal attack on a French teenage gay rights activist “in the strongest terms”.

Clément Méric, an 18-year-old student at Sciences Po in Paris, was violently attacked by a group of three skinheads, including one woman, near Saint-Lazare train station on Wednesday evening.

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.

A vigil will take place this evening.

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

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”.

Marc Bruyer, a gay French businessman living in London told “I am really shocked by what’s happening in my country, it’s totally insane. I have been a student in Paris and this sort of thing has never happened as far as I remember. The extreme right is on the ascendancy and I am really worried – to be honest I feel safer in London.”

Anti-gay crime has soared with the arrival of equal marriage in France.

President Francois Hollande called for the “violent acts” to stop in April.