French-ex President Sarkozy loses free speech case

This French video, from when Nicolas Sarkozy was still president of France, shows Sarkozy saying to a non-Sarkozy supporting farmer: “Casse-toi, alors, pauvre con” (Piss off, asshole).

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Court criticizes penalty for insulting Sarkozy

Updated: Thursday, 14 March 2013, 11:42

The European Court of Human Rights has admonished France about the conviction of a man who had insulted President Sarkozy. The man had put a sign next to the car of the president, saying “Piss off, asshole.”

The man appealed against the 30 euros fine. The judges in Strasbourg have found that the action by the man is freedom of expression and that the punishment is disproportionate.

The text on the anti-Sarkozy sign was the literal repetition of the insult by Sarkozy of someone who had refused to shake his hand.

See also here.

Nicolas Sarkozy to Go Work for Qatar ~ Slate: here.

French center-right collapsing, double cross logo?

In an earlier post, this blog discussed the controversy about the new logo of the Conservative party in Scotland.

Scottish Conservative party old logo

Scottish Conservative party new logo

Incredulous Scots couldn’t believe their eyes today when the Scottish Conservatives unveiled their new “double cross” logo.

It replaces the tree adopted in 2006 when the party was trying to convince voters that it would pursue green policies.

The Westminster Tory government has largely shirked those commitments.

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “There’s something strangely appropriate in the Tories choosing a ‘double cross’ to represent whatever it is they stand for, but I’m not sure it’s what they were aiming for.”

He said that it was understandable the Scots Tories want to distance themselves from Westminster but “a leopard can’t change its spots.”

Now, from Scotland to France. Until May this year, the UMP centre-right political party was the ruling party in France, the party of President Sarkozy and with a majority in Parliament.

But then, incumbent President Sarkozy lost the election against François Hollande of the socialist party.

A few weeks later, at the parliamentary elections, the UMP lost their majority there as well.

Then, the French conservatives started to tear each other apart, while there was a drift to the far right.

Today, Reuters says:

French conservatives slip further into crisis

Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:29am EST

* Copé, named UMP leader, says it’s time to turn the page

* Rival Fillon wants new vote to resolve leadership crisis

* Pro-Fillon moderates form centre-right wing within party

By Catherine Bremer

PARIS, Nov 27 – France’s opposition conservatives sank deeper into a leadership crisis on Tuesday that could split the party, as moderates demanded a new vote to replace the disputed election of a hardliner and formed a breakaway wing.

Jean-Francois Copé, affirmed as winner of the UMP’s Nov. 18 leadership vote in revised ballot results on Monday, said it was time to move on from a week-old dispute that has left ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy’s party in chaos.

But his rival Francois Fillon said he and his supporters were forming a new centre-right group within the UMP while he presses the party to hold a fresh vote from scratch.

“I am fighting over principles. Nobody today is in fact leader of the UMP,” Fillon said, as he called for a new vote within three months to be supervised by an independent body.

“We are neither beaten nor mute. We are on our feet,” he said, but added that he still hoped to be able to hold together a party formed a decade ago to knit together centrist and harder-right strands of conservatism.

France politics: UMP party splits in parliament: here.

What is the logo of the UMP?

UMP logo

A tree. Like the British Conservatives.

Will Fillon’s new party, or Copé’s party, or both, now change the logo to a double cross, like the Scottish Conservatives? And will they sue each other then about logo copyright?

French Pussy Riot solidarity oppressed under Islamophobic law

This video is called Pussy Riot release new single Putin Lights Up the Fires.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Pussy Riot protesters arrested in Marseille

French police detain Pussy Riot protesters for wearing balaclavas amid crackdown on face-coverings

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

Sunday 19 August 2012 17.52 BST

Several people protesting peacefully in Marseille against the trial of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were detained by police for wearing balaclavas, under France’s controversial law that bans Muslim niqabs and all face-coverings from public places.

About 30 demonstrators gathered outside the Russian consulate in the southern French city on Friday to protest against the trial of members of the feminist group famous for wearing bright dresses and colourful balaclavas.

But police swooped on about seven wearing multicoloured face-masks in solidarity with the band, reported La Provence. Asked why the police had stopped the demonstrators who had been standing peacefully behind a banner about the power of poetry, a senior officer told the newspaper: “They are wearing balaclavas in a public space. It’s illegal.” He said the demonstrators would be questioned and a report written.

In April 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy’s government introduced a law banning women from wearing the niqab, or full face-veil, in public places. To circumvent accusations that the law singled out Muslims, the bill was officially called the law against covering one’s face in public places.

Special exemptions were created for motorcycle helmets or sports equipment such as fencing masks. There are also exemptions for people appearing in parades, celebrations or places of worship.

The Marseille protesters – including poets, a book editor, and a former culture official – who had removed their masks at police request, were put in a riot van and driven to the nearest police station amid cries of “Absurd!” and “Ridiculous!”. They were released that afternoon. Under the law, the case can be referred to a local judge who can hand down a €150 fine, a citizenship course or both.

“We came here to defend freedom of expression in Russia and we find ourselves stopped by French police,” one pensioner at the rally told the paper.

When three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism on Friday, France said the sentence was “disproportionate”.

Police persecution of Pussy Riot supporters in Cologne, Germany: here.