Dieudonne arrested on suspicion of assaulting officials

Anti-Semitic comic, the originator of the Nazi-like ‘quenelle’ gesture, released after 9 hours of questioning

Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Anti-Semitic French comic Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, in 2009 (photo credit: AP/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala was arrested Tuesday night for allegedly firing rubber bullets at law enforcement officers who tried to serve a writ on him for non-payment of fines or taxes.

Dieudonne, as he’s popularly known, has several previous convictions for inciting anti-Semitism. He was questioned by police Tuesday night for nine hours and then released.

The alleged attack took place after several bailiffs arrived Monday at the comedian’s home in central France. It is unclear what type of writ the bailiffs attempted to serve, but Dieudonne is currently under investigation for alleged money-laundering and fraudulent organization of his own bankruptcy, according to The Independent. He has also failed to pay several thousand euros in fines for anti-semitic remarks.

According to Dieudonne’s lawyer, the bailiffs attempted to climb over the fence surrounding the comedian’s residence.

“Dieudonne’s partner and their security staff then asked them to leave,” the lawyer claimed.

At that point, one of the bailiffs was allegedly shot with rubber bullets by Dieudonne.

An initial investigation uncovered a gun suited for rubber bullets on the grounds of the alleged attack.

Dieudonne later turned himself over to the police and was reportedly booked. His girlfriend, Noemie Montagne, was also questioned, AFP reported.

The two later filed a complaint against the bailiff, who they claimed had attempted to break into the comedian’s home.

Dieudonne is now facing an eighth trial for inciting hatred against Jews by suggesting during a show that the French Jewish journalist Patrick Cohen belonged in a gas chamber. He also is the originator of the quenelle, the increasingly popular gesture in France and Europe that has been called anti-Semitic and a quasi-Nazi salute.

The quenelle, described by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls as “an inverted Nazi salute,” involves placing one’s outstretched left palm on one’s right shoulder while pointing downward with one’s right arm.

French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala performing the quenelle in 2008 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)
French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala performing the quenelle in 2008 (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Like the Nazi salute, the quenelle is seen as a variant of the Roman salute and, considering its inventor’s penchant for defiance of France’s anti-Nazi laws, is understood to challenge the prohibition on performing the Nazi salute.

Earlier this month, a French court banned Dieudonne from performing in Nantes in what was to be the debut of his new show, “The Wall.” His shows were banned by mayors in Marseille, Bordeaux and Tours as well.

JTA and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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