• France's news in English

Dieudonné: Mayors line up to ban his shows

The Local · 7 Jan 2014, 14:19

Published: 07 Jan 2014 14:19 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Authorities in several French cities and towns announced they had banned performances by provacative French comic Dieudonné, who has come under fire for his shows, which many say are anti-Semitic and for his now infamous "quenelle" gesture.

On Monday and Tuesday officials in Bordeaux, Nantes and Tours said they will not allow him to perform there on the grounds his show infringes on "people's dignity,' BFMTV reported. The performer was scheduled to perform in Nantes on Thursday, which authorities had promised to ban on public order grounds.

Dieudonné has been convicted for hate speech in the past but insists his shows are anti-Zionist rather than anti-Semitic. His lawyer promised to fight the bans.

"As soon as the order is issued we will go before a judge at the administrative court in Nantes to get it cancelled,” said lawyer Jacques Verdier. "What we know is these bans are based on disturbing public order…a serious disturbance, that’s when the police are no long able to contain the trouble."

Dieudonné has come under greater scrutiny in recent weeks after images emerged of fans performing his quenelle gesture, described by some as a Nazi style salute, outside Jewish synagogues and Holocaust memorials. Defenders of the comic say the gesture is simply code for an "up yours" message directed at the French establishment.

On Tuesday President François Hollande urged officials to take a hard line on the performer, urging them to apply an interior ministry circular that authorizes mayors and police officials to cancel Dieudonné shows.

"The government ... has issued instructions to ensure that no one can use a performance for the goals of provocation and the promotion of overtly anti-Semitic theories," Hollande said in a New Year address to civil servants. 

The Socialist leader said local officials had to be "vigilant and inflexible" in their response to what he described as "shameful provocation" without specifically mentioning Dieudonné.

But the bans are expected to face legal challenges on freedom of speech grounds before the scheduled start of Dieudonné's tour in Nantes on Thursday.

Story continues below…

Dieudonne's popularity - more than 5,000 tickets have been sold for the opening night of his tour - has exacerbated concern over a perceived resurgence of anti-Semitism in France under the guise of a brand of anti-Zionism.

SEE ALSO: The French comic behind Anelka's 'Nazi style' salute

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available