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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 20:33 GMT
French row over charity pork soup
By Alasdair Sandford
BBC News, Paris

Map of France showing Nice
A charity run by an extreme-right group in the south of France has caused anger by serving the homeless only pork soup, which Jews and Muslims do not eat.

The soup kitchen is set up one night each week in the port of Nice and has drawn numerous protests.

The charity has defended offering what it calls traditional cuisine to French and European homeless people.

Protesters have denounced the practice as racist but the local authority says it is powerless to intervene.

For three weeks the food has been served up at Nice harbour by a group close to a small far-right organisation called Bloc Identitaire.

The operation has drawn as many protesters as homeless people.

They accuse the group - called Soulidarieta, or Solidarity in the local dialect - of blatant discrimination by offering pork soup only, deliberately to exclude poor Muslims and Jews.

'Nothing illegal'

The group's head, Dominique Lescure, said pork was a traditional part of French cuisine.

But he admitted wanting to serve the soup to what he called his "compatriots and European homeless people".

Nice has a large Muslim population.

One protester said the practice was like telling people who do not eat pork to "stay in their cardboard boxes and starve".

Several welfare organisations have complained, but both the local town hall and governor's office say the group has done nothing illegal.

Earlier this year it was prevented from operating in Paris for administrative reasons.

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