France Arrests 54, Announces ‘Hate Speech’ Crackdown

Justice Ministry Orders Arrests of Racists

Paris celebrated free speech today with the return of attacked satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which quickly sold out its millions of copies as people expressed support for the expression of controversial opinions.

That would all make a much better story, however, if France didn’t use the exact same day to arrest scores of people for “hate speech,” announcing a planned crackdown on unacceptable language.

France’s Justice Ministry ordered arrests of “racists” nationwide, and by evening 54 had been detained on various speech-related offenses, including a high profile comedian arrested for “supporting terrorism.”

The timing is outright bizarre, with the “Je suis Charlie” movement celebrating freedom of speech, and the Interior Ministry petitioning the rest of the European Union to work together to “eliminate hate speech” online.

The arrests centered around people saying things, either online or in public, which police found unacceptable. One man, a 20-year-old in Orleans, was arrested for saying “long live the Kalashnikov.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.