World

France arrests controversial comedian Dieudonne for posts that appear to praise Paris attacks

Reaction from Dominique Laurent, associate professor at Dickinson College

 

French police Wednesday detained the controversial comic Dieudonne for posts on Facebook that appeared to praise the Paris terror attacks.

Dieudonne's detention for defending terrorism followed a four-year prison sentence involving the same charge for a man in northern France who seemed to defend the attacks in a drunken rant while resisting arrest, according to The Associated Press.

Dieudonne, who popularized an arm gesture that resembles a Nazi salute and who has been convicted repeatedly of racism and anti-Semitism, is no stranger to controversy. His provocative performances were banned last year but he has a core following among many of France's disaffected young people.

His Facebook post, which was swiftly deleted, said he felt like "Charlie Coulibaly" -- merging the names of Charlie Hebdo and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who seized a kosher market and killed four hostages, along with a policewoman.

In a separate post, the comic wrote an open letter to France's interior minister.

"Whenever I speak, you do not try to understand what I'm trying to say, you do not want to listen to me. You are looking for a pretext to forbid me. You consider me like Amedy Coulibaly when I am not any different from Charlie," he wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.