Hollande backs ban on 'anti-Semitic' comedian
PARIS (AFP) - President Francois Hollande on Tuesday backed attempts to ban a controversial French comedian as a furore intensified over his sketches widely condemned as anti-Semitic.
Weighing into a debate that has gripped France, Mr Hollande urged local officials to apply an interior ministry circular authorising city mayors or police chiefs to cancel performances of the comic, Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, on public order grounds.
Several cities and towns, among them Nantes and Bordeaux, have declared prohibitions on shows the comedian, who goes by his first name, was to have staged. Officials claimed there was a risk of violent clashes between fans and protesters.
Mr Hollande said the interior ministry instructions were to "ensure that no one can use a performance for the goals of provocation and the promotion of overtly anti-Semitic theories".