A French court has imposed a €750 fine on an Algerian man under new legislation brought in to prevent desecration and insulting of the national flag.
The man – Abderrahmane Saidi, 26 – was found guilty of desecrating a national flag on public display last week. He had been at a local government office in Nice when, in a fit of anger, he grabbed a flag in the office and snapped the pole in two during a row with a clerk.
New laws had been brought in July making it a criminal offence to insult the tricolor, punishable by a fine of up to €1,500. It was brought in after the publication of a photograph of a man wiping his bottom with the French flag, which sparked major outcry across the political spectrum.
Saidi was also sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence and was also ordered to attend French citizenship classes.
The court heard that Saidi has become enraged at a bureaucratic delay and, as well as snapping the flagpole, threw the pieces at the clerk’s window. His behaviour prompted complaints from the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority, local police and the clerk.
Prior to July, it was only an offence to insult the French flag during a public event.