Antisemitic comedian banned in France

Dieudonne M'Bala (Photo: Réseau Voltaire)

Dieudonne M'Bala (Photo: Réseau Voltaire)

The European Jewish Congress welcomed the decision by French authorities to ban Dieudonne’s performance calling the move a "triumph for the values of democracy".

In a statement, President of the EJC, Dr Moshe Kantor said: “This is a triumph for the values of democracy and for the French Republic. To remove a platform for hate and a stage for racism is in the best interests of the state and its citizens.”

Antisemitic French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala was banned by French authorities just two hours before he was due to go on stage.

In a frantic series of events, the local council in Nantes banned the comedian from appearing at theatre in the city, only for a local judge to, overturn the decision.

But in a matter of minutes after the judge’s ruling, Interior Minister Manuel Valls appealed to the Council of State, France’s highest administrative body, which met in emergency session to reimpose the ban, citing public safety as a reason.

Riot police were called in to disperse the thousands of angry Dieudonne fans who reacted to the news by gathering outside the Zenith theatre in Nantes.

Of the 30 French cities on Dieudonne’s nationwide tour, eight have so far banned him from performing, but the comic pledges he will fight each decision in turn.

Dieudonne is known for his trademark quenelle gesture, a Nazi-style salute.

Footballer Nicolas Anelka performed the gesture during a Premier League match two weeks ago, claiming it was a tribute to Dieudonne.

The incident triggered an angry debate in France.

Last updated: 12:56pm, January 11 2014