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French cities ban Dieudonne performances

JTA

January 7, 2014 | 2:48 pm

French comedian Dieudonne demonstrating the quenelle, a vaguely Nazi-like gesture whose popularity has soared in France. (YouTube/JTA)

French comedian Dieudonne demonstrating the quenelle, a vaguely Nazi-like gesture whose popularity has soared in France. (YouTube/JTA)

Several French cities banned performances by the anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala following a recommendation by the interior minister of France to the country’s mayors.

Shows were banned by mayors in Marseille, Bordeaux, Tours and Nantes, the opening venue of the comedian’s national tour that was to launch Thursday, Reuters reported.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls sent the non-binding recommendation for French mayors to cancel the performances in a circular on Monday, days before Dieudonne was scheduled to launch his nationwide tour.

“I am calling on all representatives of the state, particularly its prefects, to be on alert and inflexible,” President Francois Hollande told a meeting of senior government officials in Paris, Reuters reported. “No one should be able to use this show for provocation and to promote openly anti-Semitic ideas.”

Dieudonne has been convicted seven times for inciting racial hatred against Jews and is facing an eighth trial for suggesting during a show that the French Jewish journalist Patrick Cohen belonged in a gas chamber. He also is the originator of the quenelle, the increasingly popular gesture in France and Europe that has been called anti-Semitic and a quasi-Nazi salute.

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