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Europe

D-Day for Cantona's call for a run on French banks

Inspired by former soccer star, and now actor Eric Cantona, December 7 has been named the global banking system’s "day of reckoning," and people are being asked to withdraw all their money from the banks.

Eric Cantona

Now a successful actor, Cantona is an icon to many

Former French footballer Eric Cantona is no stranger to courting controversy, and with his latest scheme to create a run on the global banking system, he has ruffled a few feathers among French bankers.

In a video interview with the French newspaper Presse Ocean, Cantona suggested that everyone should withdraw their money from the banks in an attempt to punish the "corrupt, criminal" banking system.

"The three million people in the street, they go to the bank, withdraw their money, and the banks collapse... That's a real threat, there's a real revolution," he said in the video.

The video interview was picked up by two "civic activists" who named December 7 as the day people should withdraw their cash and set up a website to help circulate Cantona's video.

A man holds Euro bank notes after drawing them from an ATM

Cantona's comments caused an international campaign for a run on banks

Tens of thousands of people have watched the video online and signed a support group on the social networking website Facebook.

'Stop interfering'

Cantona's philosophizing on the future of the banking sector has been met with scathing criticism from the French finance minister.

Christine Lagarde said Cantona should stop "intervening in finance and economics, especially when he doesn't fully understand the mechanics of it."

Her comments were backed by the head of France's largest bank BNP Paribas, who said the footballer's comments were "typically misplaced."

"The recommendation to withdraw deposits will sow insecurity," said Baudoin Prot.

As Cantona's "revolution" gained support across Europe, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers Jean-Claude Juncker added his criticisms calling the scheme "irresponsible."

European Union economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn added: "I think Mr Cantona is a better footballer than he is an economist."

Author: Catherine Bolsover (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Rob Turner

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