An eccentric South African artist has been charged with sexual exhibitionism after a street performance in central Paris in which he tied a rooster to his penis.

Steve Cohen was arrested on Tuesday on a busy public square a stone's throw from the Eiffel Tower.

Sporting platform shoes, dressed up as a bird and with a cord wrapped around his penis and attached to the rooster, he was able to dance for around ten minutes before police stepped in.

He was detained all day and has now been ordered to appear in court on December 16, treatment which has been greeted with outrage by his lawyer, Agnes Tricoire.

Stressing that Cohen is an established artist who is due to appear in the upcoming Autumn Festival in the French capital, she said Cohen was portraying his personal situation "shared between his native South Africa and the France he now lives in."

"His detention was a disgrace," she added. "Imagine, France throwing artists in prison!"

[Image via Agence France-Presse]