Corsica bans all rallies following series of violent anti-Muslim protests

Demonstrators march towards the prefecture in Ajaccio during a protest on December 26, 2015, a day after demonstrators vandalised a Muslim prayer hall and trashed copies of the Koran, following a night of violence that left two firefighters and a police officer injured. © Yannick Graziani
The French island of Corsica has banned all demonstrations in a low-income neighborhood of its capital Ajaccio recently plagued by violent anti-Muslim protests, including the ransacking of a Muslim prayer house, and burning copies of the Koran.

The decree banning protests in the volatile neighborhood of Jardins de l'Empereur until January 4 was issued by Corsica’s prefect Christophe Mirmand.

“It is an order that was taken last night as part of a state of emergency… Instigation of hatred is an offence that can lead to criminal proceedings,” he said, as cited by France Info.

However, despite of the ban, hundreds of demonstrators still took to the streets on Sunday. Police blocked anti-Muslim protesters trying to reach Jardins de l'Empereur, Ruptly reports.

Mirmand said ealier that police from mainland France have been called into Ajaccio, and prayer rooms and mosques were being guarded.

Speaking on French iTELE he confirmed that two separate investigations have been launched into an attack on firefighters and the ransacking of the Muslim prayer house.

READ MORE: Dozens take part in fresh anti-Muslim protest in Corsica after attack on prayer hall (VIDEO)

Tensions mounted in Ajaccio after a night of violence when two firefighters and a police officer were injured in what the authorities described as ambushes by “several hooded youths” in the low-income neighborhood.

On Friday, an angry mob retaliating over the attacks on the firefighters and ransacked a Muslim prayer house. The protests continued on Saturday when a group of 100-300 people marched in Ajaccio, shouting anti-Muslim slogans.

READ MORE: Muslim prayer hall damaged, copies of Koran burnt in overnight rampage in Corsica

Local police put at least five Muslim prayer houses in Ajaccio under protection and maintained a presence on the housing estate.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is rising in France following the terrorist attacks on November 13 in Paris that killed 130 people. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the violence in the French capital.

Corsica, a small Mediterranean island, has a long history of nationalistic movements, which occasionally lead to violence. Anti-immigrant and nationalist parties performed well during last month's regional election, giving the department its first-ever nationalist government.