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French Catholic hardliners fined for storming Paris theatre

Theatre de la Ville in central Paris
Theatre de la Ville in central Paris AFP/Loïc Venance

A French court has fined 32 Catholic traditionalists for storming into a Parisian theatre in October 2011 during a play depicting Christ’s face with fake excrement. The protesters were convicted on charges of obstructing freedom of expression and will pay fines up to 2,000 euros.

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The group burst into the central Theatre de la Ville during a performance of
On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci.

As they climbed onto the stage, witnesses said the protesters chanted “Christianophobia, that’s enough!” while hurling smoke bombs.

The controversial play is about an adult son who cares for his aging, uncontrollable father.

The protesters, members of the fundamentalist groups Civitas, were reacting to a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina that hung at the back of the stage. Near the end of the performance it appeared to be covered in excrement.

The imagery infuriated Catholic groups who said it was deeply offensive and demanded the play be cancelled.

However; the association of French Roman Catholic bishops disapproved of the protest.

Three of the convicted were fined between 1,500 and 2,000 euros, and the others between 600 and 800 euros.

Prosecutors had initially requested fines of up to five thousand euros each. Their lawyers said they would appeal.
 

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