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France

Nice mayor bans ostentatious foreign flags during world cup

media Algeria fans after match against Russia, Marseille 26 June, 2014 Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has banned the ostentatious display of foreign flags in the city centre for the duration of the football World Cup.

The ban “is aimed at maintaining order and harmony and preventing the type of excesses seen on Thursday and Friday evening in areas around Paris, Lyon, Marseille and in northern France”, according to Estrosi, a prominent name in the conservative UMP party.

“Since the beginning of the World Cup, unfortunately we have been faced with intolerable behaviour which is harmful to social order. We cannot accept these excesses! They are an example of the loss of authority of the state.”

Last week 74 supporters of the Algeria supporters were arrested when celebrations of the team’s qualification for the next round of the World Cup turned violent.

The Champs Elysées in Paris was briefly invaded by supporters and there were clashes with police. Elsewhere cars were set alight, and in the Lyon area firefighters were assaulted.

“I decided to ban foreign flags in order to give police a legal reason to intervene to halt this business”, Estrosi explained.

He said the ban should allow the police to “ensure respect for symbols representing the French state.”

In 2012, after complaints from local people about excessive noise and major traffic disruption at wedding celebrations, Estrosi introduced a “Wedding Charter” outlining limits on the public celebration of weddings in Nice.

 

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