Controversial French comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala was taken into custody for several hours on Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a bailiff who came to his home earlier this week to collect fines Dieudonné owes for racism offences.
Dieudonné – who owes the state thousands of euros in unpaid fines for offences that include racial discrimination and hate speech – was questioned by police along with his girlfriend over the alleged attack, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Bailiffs turned up at the comedian's home in central France on Monday night to demand payment for the fines and tried to enter by climbing over a fence, said Dieudonné’s lawyer, Sanjay Mirabeau.
"Dieudonné's partner and their security staff asked them to leave," he said.
According to sources close to the investigation, one of the bailiffs says he was assaulted by Dieudonné and targeted with rubber bullets. A bullet-launching device was later discovered during a search of his home, investigators said.
The couple has filed their own complaint accusing the bailiff of breaking into their home.
"Dieudonné wants to be left alone, or at least to be treated in a normal manner, that is to say, for the bailiffs to turn up at his house during regular hours," Mirabeau said.
Comic act banned
Dieudonné, whose act has been widely condemned as being anti-Semitic, has been banned from performing in several French cities on the grounds of maintaining public order as authorities probe whether he should face charges for breaking French laws against "inciting racial hatred".
French President François Hollande has publicly backed the ban on his performances.
Dieudonné, whose father is from Cameroon and whose mother is French Caucasian, is also known for his trademark “quenelle” salute, a straight-armed downward gesture that some have likened to a reverse Nazi salute.
The comic says the gesture is merely an anti-establishment salute.
Dieudonné made international headlines after footballer Nicolas Anelka performed his quenelle during an English Premier League match. Anelka faces a lengthy ban after being charged by the Football Association over the salute on grounds of racism.
Anelka has until Thursday to respond to the charge and, if found guilty, faces a minimum five-game suspension under new anti-discrimination measures introduced last year.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-01-22