In this file photo taken on February 26, 2006 shows revellers parade in the streets of Dunkirk (Dunkerque), northern France, as part of the town's carnival. (AFP / FRANCOIS LO PRESTI)
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A carnival in the northern French port of Dunkirk opened Sunday clouded by a controversy over the use of blackface after criticism from anti-racism campaigners.A poster, put up around the port before being flagged by anti-racism campaigners in December, features three men wearing blackface paint and feather head-dresses.Campaigners say blackface is racist because it recalls how Africans were used as entertainment in circus shows in Europe in the 19th century and how black people were ridiculed by white actors wearing facepaint in so-called "Minstrel" shows in America.Activist Louis-Georges Tin, head of the Council of French Black Associations, stressed how blackface was used to de-humanize black people as either savages or imbeciles while they were being trafficked as slaves.
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