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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 15:42 GMT
French MP blames riots on rappers
French firemen putting out a fire in Lyon
Some French politicians claim violent rap lyrics stoked the violence
A French MP has publicly accused rappers of fuelling the country's recent riots with their songs.

It comes a day after 200 politicians backed his petition calling for legal action against seven rap musicians and bands it alleges have incited racism.

MP Francois Grosdidier told France-Info radio it was no surprise youths "saw red" after listening to violent lyrics.

Rapper Monsieur R, one of those singled out in the petition, rejected the idea, saying rap "is not a call to violence".

French authorities said the situation had returned to normal last week, following three weeks of unrest that affected dozens of towns and cities.

Nationwide, almost 9,000 cars were set ablaze and some 3,000 people were arrested. The French parliament last week approved a three-month state of emergency.


The petition, handed to Justice Minister Pascal Clement, has been signed by 153 members of the lower house of parliament and 49 senators.

The Justice Department has said it cannot immediately comment on its call for legal sanctions.

As well as Monsieur R, it names artists Smala, Fabe and Salif and bands Ministere Amer, 113 and Lunatic.

Hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words
Rapper Monsieur R

Mr Grosdidier, a member of President Jacques Chirac's conservative ruling UMP party, said songs like Monsieur R's FranSSe incite racism and hatred, and should be banned from radio play.

He told France-Info: "When people hear this all day long and when these words swirl round in their heads, it is no surprise that they then see red as soon as they walk past policemen or simply people who are different from them."

Monsieur R, real name Richard Makela, already faces a separate lawsuit for "outrage to social decency" over the song FranSSe, brought by another conservative MP and to be heard in February.

The rapper told LCI television: "Hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words. It is not a call to violence."

Four members of the rap group Sniper were acquitted earlier this year in Rouen, northern France, in a case brought by the Interior Ministry over a song it alleged incited attacks on the police. An appeal is due to be heard next month.

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