Algeria/France

Algeria protests French far right minarets poster

Reuters

Algeria has lodged an official protest after French electoral authorities approved a campaign poster by the far-right Front National party that it believes is an abuse of the Algerian flag.

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The poster shows a veiled woman next to a map of France that is covered with an Algerian flag. Minarets are shown as missiles above the caption "No to Islamism!"

"We need to respect the symbols of one another. This is the position of our country and we will ensure that it will be respected in our country," Mourad Medelci, Algeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, said Monday.

On Tuesday, the French Foreign Ministry said that Algiers's complaint was "legitimate".

The Front National reacted by declaring, "Paris is on its knees before Algiers."

A Marseille court has thrown out an attempt by anti-racist group, Licra, to have the poster banned. Two more oraganisations, Mrap and SOS Racisme, have now launched legal action.

Algeria won independence from France in 1962 after a bitter war, which led to up to 300,000  so-called pieds noirs leaving the country to live in France. Many people of Algerian origin have since come to France for economic reasons.

The Front National is a virulent campaigner against immigration and its opponents accuse it of stirring up racism and Islamophobia. Its leader Jean-Marie le Pen has faced several lawsuits for allegedly racist remarks.

The poster resembles a poster that a Swiss nationalist party published during the mosque and minaret referendum last November in Switzerland. The Swiss agency that designed the original poster says that it will sue the Front National for plagiarism.
 

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