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France - Middle East

France suspends security sales to Bahrain, Libya

Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

France has suspended exports of security equipment to Libya and Bahrain after the deaths of anti-government protesters in both countries.

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On Thursday France condemned what it called an "excessive use of force which led to several deaths and numerous injuries" in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

Paris was less speedy in its condemnation of repression in Tunisia and Egypt, whose revolts inspired the wave of unrest spreading across north Africa and the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has come under fire for offering help to Tunisian security forces and alleged links to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s entourage.

France has revealed that it had authorised exports of security equipment to Tunisia weeks before authoritarian ruler was ousted, but said the shipments were later cancelled.

Paris on Friday advised its citizens in Bahrein, Yemen and Libya to stay away from demonstrations for their own security.

Dossier: Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution

A teacher at the Lycée français in Cairo has been suspended and summoned back to France for joining the protests against President Hosni Mubarak with a placard saying “Casse-toi, pauvre con!”.

The phrase – an impolite invitation to go away – was notoriously used by President Nicolas Sarkozy when a member of the public heckled him at the annual Paris agricultural show in 2008 and has been used as a slogan by his opponents in France.

The teacher, who is married to an Egyptian, is to be given work when he returns to France.

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