Comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, viewed as a dangerous anti-Semite by the French government, has appealed against a ban on his show, Le Mur (The Wall).
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala lodged the appeal with France’s highest court, the Council of State, after it overruled a provincial judge on Thursday and reinstated the ban.
The ban took effect as fans gathered for the first show of a tour, in the western city of Nantes on Thursday.
Authorities in other cities on the tour have also banned the performance.
Legal analysts say that while the Council of State decision applied specifically to Nantes, judges in other cities will have to take it into account and a flurry of further bans is likely.
Among the performances of The Wall which have been banned is one that was scheduled for the city of Tours on Friday.
Supporters of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala and critics of the bans accuse the authorities of denying the comic freedom of speech.
However, government lawyers argue that the fundamentally racist nature of his act means it cannot be afforded protection under France’s constitutional provisions on freedom of speech.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls wants Dieudonne M’bala M’bala kept off all stages in France, condemning the comic’s “mechanics of hate”.
PM Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was satisfied with the Council of State ban.
“What’s at stake is the struggle against the drift towards anti-Semitism in which Dieudonne was engaged,” he said on Friday.
“Over the course of time, each show leads to a spiraling out of control. And we can’t accept that in our society there is the slightest complacency with regards to anti-Semitism. It’s totally alien to our values and principles.”
Shocked fans booed outside the concert hall in Nantes, where more than 5,000 people had been due to see the show.
Some gave Dieudonne M’bala M’bala’s trademark “quenelle” gesture, which is regarded by many as an inverted Nazi salute, while some brandished pineapples.
One of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala’s most notorious songs, Shoananas, roughly translates as Pineapple-Holocaust and mocks commemoration of the Nazi extermination of the Jews.