Five suspects are being held in connection with the death of a teenage left-wing protester and gay rights activist in Paris.

Clement Meric, 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.

Five suspects, aged between 19 and 32, are due to go in front of a judge today, reports News.com. Three others were questioned by police and released on Friday.

President Francois Hollande condemned the fatal attack “in the strongest terms” while on Thursday evening more than 15,000 protested in Paris and other major cities.

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 PinkNews.co.uk: “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.