The Straits Times
Published on Sep 22, 2012

Police chopper, riot squad meet lone French Islam protestor


MARSEILLE (AFP) - A police helicopter and 60 riot police were deployed on Saturday in central Marseille to prevent any protests about anti-Islam cartoons, but only a single demonstrator turned out.

Around 30 journalists were also on hand to witness the man's attempt to defy an official ban on protests about a French magazine that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

"I may be the only one today but I am the spokesman of a silent majority," Mr Omar Djellil, whose request to hold a legal demo was turned down by police, told reporters as he harangued passers-by from atop a concrete block.

Mr Djellil proceeded to stick posters on nearby walls in the southern port city that read "Hebdo Pigs" and "French Muslims don't need authorisation to defend their rights".