JUST hours before Algeria take on Germany in the World Cup quarter-finals in Brazil, the mayor of Nice has banned the “ostentatious waving of foreign flags” in the centre of France’s fifth-largest city.
Christian Estrosi was reacting after violent clashes in several French cities on June 26-27 after Algeria qualified for the knockout phase of the World Cup finals for the first time. The troubles had seen 74 people arrested in Lyon, Paris, Lille and Marseille.
He said that since the start of the World Cup “sadly we have been confronted with intolerable behaviour which is damaging public peace. We cannot accept such outbursts. They are an example of the state’s loss of authority.”
The UMP mayor banned all flamboyant waving of foreign flags between 18.00 and 4.00 during the rest of the World Cup. He said he was acting to “give police the judicial power to intervene and halt such annoyances” and called on the prefect to make sure order was kept.
He was speaking just days after Front National leader Marine Le Pen said that people should not be allowed to hold dual nationality. She told Europe 1’s Le Grand Rendevous that the violence proved “the total failure of immigration policies in our country and the refusal expressed by a number of dual-nationality citizens to assimilate”.
She told people with dual nationality: “You should pick: are you Algerian or French, Moroccan or French… you cannot be both.”
Sports minister Najat Vallau-Belkacem hit back, saying “the problem is not the fans, but the rioters” and she warned that anyone breaking the law after tonight’s match “will be punished”.