'Dictator' Baron Cohen pulls Cannes camel stunt

British actor Sacha Baron Cohen sits on a camel during a photo call on the Croisette beachfront for his latest movie "The Dictator" in Cannes on Wednesday May 16. "The Dictator" is Cohen's fourth comedy film featuring the story of Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from the fictional North African country of the Republic of Wadiya. (Reuters)

British comic Sacha Baron Cohen sparked minor chaos on Cannes' fabled Croisette beachfront on Wednesday as his zany alter ego Admiral General Aladeen took a morning stroll on his camel Osama.

The star of "The Dictator" ordered his mini-skirted Amazonian bodyguards to point their assault rifles at the press pack outside the ritzy Carlton Hotel before he straddled his humped beast and headed for a nearby cafe.

Baron Cohen has already premiered his movie and was in Cannes simply to cause a stir and try to hog the limelight as the Riviera resort launched its annual film festival.

The media scrum that followed him on the chic promenade clogged traffic as the fictional Middle Eastern dictator shared his thoughts on France's new President Francois Hollande and the unrest in Syria.

"Hollandaise? Yes, I supported his campaign. I gave him 500,000 euros," he quipped. But when asked by AFP if he had sent the lightning bolt that struck Hollande's plane as it flew to Berlin on Tuesday, he denied any involvement.

"There was a lightning? It was not me," stated the general, who was dressed for the occasion in a multi-coloured jockey's outfit and brandished a riding crop.

Then he sat at a cafe terrace where he ordered two coffees -- one for the camel who refused to drink it -- before moving on to a Ralph Lauren store from which he emerged with an orange scarf that he wrapped around his mount's neck.

The "Ali G", "Borat" and "Bruno" star turned up in full military regalia at the Oscars in February and pretended to pour late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's ashes onto an interviewer.

Baron Cohen made a previous appearance in Cannes in 2006 when he turned up on the beach to strut his stuff in a "mankini" to publicise "Borat".

In "The Dictator" he plays the lead role in "the heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed," according to the film's publicists.

The fictional dictator goes to New York to make a speech at the United Nations, gets abducted and ends up working at a Brooklyn food co-op.

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