A top court in France has upheld the ban on a performance by the controversial comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.
The decision comes less than two hours before the comedian was due to give the opening performance of his national tour in the city of Nantes, despite his lawyers claiming a breach of his freedom of expression.
The ban had just been lifted by local judge Jean-Francois Molla who said that a perceived risk to public order could not be used to justify as radical measure as banning the show . However, France's highest administrative court, the Council
of State, ruled that the show should not be allowed to go ahead.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has led the campaign to ban the comedian's performances, said:
We cannot tolerate hatred of others, racism, anti-Semitism or holocaust denial. That is not France. This is a victory for the Republic.
The decision marks a landmark break with legal precedent in France, where previous attempts to ban Dieudonne from performing foundered against constitutional provisions on free speech.
The government has accused the comedian of insulting the memory of Holocaust victims, and his show has widely been condemned as anti-Semitic. However newspaper reports have not provided any details of his material, perhaps suggesting a weak case.
The ruling today leaves the rest of his tour uncertain.
11th January 2013. See article
The French comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has appealed against a ban on his show. He lodged the appeal with the country's highest court, the Council of State, after it overruled a provincial judge on Thursday and reinstated the ban.
The ban took effect as fans gathered for the first show of a tour, in the western city of Nantes on Thursday. Authorities in other cities on the tour have also banned the performance.
Legal analysts say that while the Council of State decision applied specifically to Nantes, judges in other cities will have to take it into account and a flurry of further bans is likely.
Supporters of the comic and critics of the bans accuse the authorities of denying Dieudonne freedom of speech.
Shocked fans booed outside the concert hall in Nantes, where more than 5,000 people had been due to see the show. Some gave Dieudonne's trademark quenelle gesture, which is regarded by many as an inverted Nazi salute, while some brandished
pineapples. One of the comic's most notorious songs, Shoananas, roughly translates as Pineapple-Holocaust.
Update: Walled Off
12th January 2013. See article
The French comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has dropped a controversial show after it was banned by the authorities. He told reporters in Paris he would no longer perform The Wall , after France's highest court upheld a ban on the opening
night of his tour on Thursday.
Citing blatant political interference , he said he wanted to perform a new show devoted to Africa. Dieudonne said in a statement on French TV:
The Dieudonne controversy and the Le Mur show are over. Now, I think we will get a chance to laugh more intensely with my new show.
We live in a democratic country and I have to comply with the laws, despite the blatant political interference.
Offsite Comment: Was Francois Hollande right to support a ban?
12th January 2013. See article
Should controversial comedian Dieudonne' M'bala M'bala, the man behind the quenelle gesture, be silenced by the law -- or by sharper arguments? Andrew Hussey and Padraig Reidy debate France's thorniest issue.
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