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Dieudonné gives Queen the quenelle after UK ban

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Dieudonné gives Queen the quenelle after UK ban
Dieudonné responds to being banned by the UK by the Queen of England the quenelle salute. Photos: AFP
08:07 CET+01:00
French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala on Monday answered Britain's decision to ban him from entry by giving Queen Elizabeth II his trademark quenelle salute, which he says is an anti-establishment gesture, but critics say is anti-Semitic.

The comic, who has a string of convictions for hate speech in his homeland, performed the stiff-armed gesture after naming the queen in a rant during a show in the Swiss town of Nyon.

Britain's interior ministry earlier on Monday said it had slapped an exclusion order on 47-year-old Dieudonné, who had said he planned to visit his friend, French footballer, Nicolas Anelka on the grounds of public security.

Dieudonné invented the allegedly anti-Semitic "quenelle" gesture that Anelka used during a goal celebration in December, landing the striker with a charge from English footballing authorities.

"We can confirm that Mr Dieudonné is subject to an exclusion order," a Home Office spokeswoman said in a statement.

"The home secretary (Theresa May) will seek to exclude an individual from the UK if she considers that there are public policy or public security reasons to do so."

British media last week quoted Dieudonné as saying that he was planning to perform a show in Britain and hold a press conference in support of Anelka, a former international on a stint with West Bromwich Albion.

The Home Office refused to give further details on the order banning him from Britain.

But a British government source told AFP on condition of anonymity: "The reason for the exclusion order is that he was going to come to the UK."

Dieudonné, who also faces accusations of fraud at home, says he is being persecuted by the French authorities.

"So many things have happened over the past year. Just today... Shit, what have I done? I don't know," he said during his show in Nyon.

His lawyer Jacques Verdier said he did not know if his client had actually intended to go to London.

He said that the ban showed British authorities were "nervous" and added that "it's appalling but nothing surprises us at the moment."

Anelka has been charged by the Football Association, the sport's governing body in England, after he made the "quenelle" gesture.

The striker made the gesture during a goal celebration after scoring against West Ham during an English Premier League match on December 28.

Anelka denies the charge, saying he is neither anti-Semitic nor racist, and that he made the gesture in support of Dieudonné.

Britain has used exclusion orders on rare occasions in recent years to keep out public figures deemed as having extreme views.

People banned include firebrand US pastor Terry Jones and the US anti-Muslim political bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, all of whom were planning to attend rallies by the far-right English Defence League.

France has in recent weeks intensified a crackdown on Dieudonné, who has been widely accused of promoting anti-Semitism and has been convicted in France for hate speech and other related offences.

The French government in December succeeded in preventing him from starting a nationwide tour of a new show, "The Wall", because of its perceived anti-Jewish content.

Last week French police seized €650,000 and $15,000 in cash during a raid on his house as part of a probe into suspected fraud.

Authorities are currently trying to force Dieudonné to pay more than €65,000 in outstanding fines related to his convictions and suspect that the 47-year-old was planning to fraudulently declare himself bankrupt.

The "quenelle" is Dieudonné's trademark stiff-armed gesture that critics say is a disguised Nazi salute but that he defends as a generic "up yours" to the French establishment.
 
Some followers of Dieudonné have been photographed doing the quenelle at sites including Auschwitz, synagogues and outside a Jewish school in Toulouse where a rabbi and three children were shot dead by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah in 2012.
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