CONTROVERSIAL COMIC—In this Feb. 19, 2005 file photo, French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala looks at a book “Blacks in the Nazi camps” by Serge Bile during a statement at La Main d’Or theater, in Paris. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File)
PARIS (AP)—France’s interior minister said Monday that local officials have the right to ban shows on a national tour of a comic whose performances are considered anti-Semitic.
The unusual move by minister Manuel Valls targets Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala (known on stage as Dieudonne), who has performed for decades but is now especially known for popularizing a hand gesture that’s been used by sports stars such as Nicolas Anelka.
Valls has criticized the “quenelle” gesture as an “inverted Nazi salute.”
Dieudonne takes his show on the road this week after performances at his regular venue in Paris, a theater he long owned.
Valls notified regional prefects on Monday that they, along with mayors, can close Dieudonne’s shows based on a potential risk to public order and instructed them how to proceed.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said there’s “no doubt” that Thursday’s show in the western city of Nantes, where he used to be mayor, would get the ax.