1. ITV Report

Top French court stops 'anti-Semitic' comedian's show

A woman holds a hand-made sign outside the Nantes concert venue. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A top French court upheld a ban on controversial comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala performing on the opening night of his tour.

The Council of State, France's highest administrative court, made its decision just an hour before the show was to due to begin in the western city of Nantes.

The ruling came after Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has been leading the effort to stop Dieudonne's national tour, appealed a decision by a court in Nantes that overturned the local authorities' efforts to ban tonight's gig.

In its ruling, the Council of State - which has previously ruled against bans on Dieudonne's performances - cited the risk to public order were the show to proceed.

The comedian is the creator of the "quenelle" hand gesture, which critics allege emulates the Nazi salute.

Valls said after the decision was made that it was "a big relief", but the comedian's fans camped outside the venue booed when they heard the news.

A woman holds a hand-made sign outside the Nantes concert venue. Credit: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

One fan told France's BFM-TV, "We're disappointed, we came for nothing. Even if you don't agree with what's being said, everyone should be able to express themselves."

Dieudonne's lawyer, Jacques Verdier, has argued that a ban on his client performing would breach his freedom of speech.