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Controversial French comic seeks to overturn show ban

Published on Jan 8, 2014 5:58 PM
 
French controversial humorist Dieudonne Mbala Mbala delivering a speech prior to the premiere screening of his movie "Antisémite" (Anti-Jewish) on the stage of the Main d'Or theatre in Paris, on Jan 15, 2012. Dieudonne, the French comic at the heart of a furore over sketches widely condemned as anti-Semitic, has asked a court to reverse a ban on the show that kicks off his nationwide tour, his lawyer said on Jan 8, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NANTES, France (AFP) - Dieudonne, the French comic at the heart of a furore over sketches widely condemned as anti-Semitic, has asked a court to reverse a ban on the show that kicks off his nationwide tour, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The 47-year-old was due to start his tour on Thursday in the western city of Nantes, but as in several other cities around France, authorities there banned his performance after Interior Minister Manuel Valls gave local officials the go-ahead to do so - an initiative backed by President Francois Hollande.

Dieudonne's material has been viewed as anti-Semitic for years, but he gained greater prominence in recent months as a result of the Internet-driven success of the "quenelle", his trademark straight arm gesture which some have described as a reverse Nazi salute.

A recent joke about gas chambers, secretly filmed at one of his shows, was the last straw for Valls who announced his intention to ban his performances.

 
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