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Bid to ban foreign flags

French win Union Jack deal

JUST two months before the International Olympic Committee meets to decide if Annecy will win the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics an MP has called for a ban on flying foreign flags in public places.

In an amendment to a draft bill to ban foreign flags from being waved at mairies – particularly at weddings – UMP MP Guy Teissier has widened the scope of the original move saying flying foreign flags in public places was a “provocation against the principles of the French republic”.

It raises the spectre of Olympic ski fans being fined up to €1,500 for not getting the correct permission from the prefecture; not to speak of thousands of international football and rugby fans at Stade de France.

Bouches-du-Rhône MP Mr Teissier’s amendment comes as a French firm, Doublet, won a contract to produce thousands of British flags for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Founded in France in 1832, Doublet has an office in Richmond, Surrey, but as yet no UK manufacturing facilities. The firm made the display materials, barriers and arches for the Tour de France and many other worldwide sporting events.

The prospect of a ban on foreign flags is probably distant, but it was raised after the UMP’s debate on the secular society and Mr Teissier said it would “regulate the use of foreign flags in French public spaces by demanding permission” from the prefecture.

News site reported Mr Teissier as saying: “A certain number of people, be they French, foreigners or not, during a diverse range of occasions – national holidays, protests – or in their daily lives, wave the flags of their country of origin” and he wanted to prevent any increase in this type of nuisance.

Many north African weddings are accompanied by horn-blowing and waving of national flags.

People wanting to wave a flag would have to apply to the prefecture in the same way as they do to hold a public demonstration. The prefecture would be able to refuse permission to fly a flag if it felt there was an intention to abuse the
principles of the republic.

Failure to get the déclaration préalable would be a fifth level offence, liable to a €1,500 fine.

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