24 Dec 2010

Man fined for insulting French flag

10:30 am on 24 December 2010

A court in the southern French city of Nice has fined a man 750 euros, or about $1300, for insulting the national flag - the first penalty under a new decree.

The BBC reports Abderrahmane Saidi, 26, from Algeria, was at a local government office this week when he grabbed a flag and snapped the pole in two during a row with a clerk.

A July decree - triggered by a photo of a man wiping his bottom with the flag - made insulting the tricolour an offence punishable by a fine of up to $2600.

Before that, it was only an offence to insult the French flag during a public event.

The court also gave Saidi a four-month suspended prison sentence and ordered him to attend citizenship classes.