Le Pen infuriates Algeria by draping France with its flag

Poster that targets Islamic extremism also brings cries of plagiarism from Swiss

The French far right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen may be a veteran provocateur but to infuriate both the Algerians and the Swiss with one poster takes genuine talent.

The Algerian government has formally protested to Paris about a poster which associates its flag with Islamisme, or radical forms of Islam. The poster shows France covered by an Algerian flag and a forest of mosque minarets. The slogan reads: "Non à l'Islamisme".

It closely resembles a poster published by a nationalist party in Switzerland before a mosque-building referendum last November. The Swiss advertising agency that devised the original poster said it planned to sue Mr Le Pen's party, the National Front, for plagiarism.

The Algerian government and anti-racist groups in France have more pressing concerns. "We have officially protested," said the Algerian Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci. "It is up to the French state to take the necessary measures when foreign countries' symbols are dragged through the mud."

Kahled Lasbeur, lawyer for the Movement against Racism, warned of "riots, demonstrations and blood-letting" if the posters are not banned.

The posters have been published by the NF's youth wing and, at first, were mostly displayed in the south of France. They are now appearing on placards, walls and motorway bridges all over the country. The party insists that the posters are a protest against extreme forms of Islam. Opponents say that the use of Algerian flags and minarets is a naked attempt to stir up anti-Islamic and anti-Arab feelings. New legal complaints have been brought by three anti-racism pressure groups.

The veteran far right leader, aged 81, is running to be president of Provence-Côte d'Azur in regional elections, which take place over two rounds this Sunday and the following weekend. If his own past pronouncements are to be believed, this may be Mr Le Pen's last political campaign. He has suggested that he plans to retire, possibly in favour of his daughter Marine Le Pen, 41, before the next national presidential election in 2012. In recent days, however, he has hinted that he might go on "for ever" if he scores well in the regional elections over the next 11 days.

In the most recent opinion polls, Mr Le Pen's list is said to command around 15 per cent of the vote in the Provence region – enough to reach the second round.

Overall, the National Front is given about 8 per cent of the vote nationwide, a substantial slump from its "glory" days in the late 1990s and 2002. Mr Le Pen's advancing age, the party's financial troubles and divisions over the more moderate approach taken by Marine (on some issues) have reduced the National Front's campaigning strength and grassroots membership.

The "Islamiste" posters are an attempt to appeal to the party's core, xenophobic support. Marine Le Pen responded to the attempts to ban the poster yesterday by calling the anti-racist groups "porteurs de valise" or bag-carriers. This is a loaded phrase, which was used to describe French supporters of the Algerian independence movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s but also carried implications of "carriers" of explosives.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn