Bordeaux became the first French city to ban performances by the antisemitic comedian Dieudonné yesterday, following advice given by France’s interior minister to local officials.
In a statement released to municipal leaders across France, Interior Minister Manuel Valls wrote: “The fight against racism and antisemitism is a main concern for the government and demands energetic action.”
He added: “Respect for freedom of expression does not prevent, in exceptional circumstances, the banning of an activity if the measure is aimed only at preventing a breach of public order”.
Bordeaux’s mayor, and former French prime minister Alain Juppé took the lead, immediately cancelling the Dieudonné’s scheduled appearance in the city on January 26.
The comic’s offensive performances have been subject to global scrutiny in the last few weeks, following footballer Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture, which he made during West Bromwich’s game against West Ham.
Anelka later claimed he had made the gesture in tribute to his friend Dieudonné, who regularly uses the Nazi-style salute in his performances.
Last night, in answer to Mr Valls's statement, Dieudonné's lawyer said the comedian planned to take legal action against attempts to cancel his shows.