Graffiti is ‘insult to the memory of our heroes’, says Emmanuel Macron
The French president and authorities in charge have denouced the act as an “insult to the memory” to the nation’s soldiers.
Mont-Valerien, a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Second World War in a western Paris suburb, was seen with “ANTI PASS” scrawled over it on Monday.
It appears to reference France’s Covid pass sanitaire (health pass), which gives a QR code to people in order to access many venues and events, as well as long-distance public transport journeys, to prove vaccination status or a negative test.
And the graffiti on the memorial in Suresnes, western Paris, also appeared to reference the Nazi paramilitary organisation SS in the way it was written.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, called the vandalism “an insult to the memory of our heroes and to the memory of the nation”.
“By tarnishing a sacred place for France, it harms what unites us,” he said. “The perpetrators will be found and then judged.”
The memorial pays hommage to all deaths during the Second World War, during which the site was used as a place of execution.
Authorities in charge of memorials in Ile-de-France tweeted a picture of the “ANTI PASS” vandalism, saying the “indefensible” action was carried out on Monday morning.
“It is an insult to the memory of the men shot in this place and the men and women who are buried here,” Hauts lieux de la mémoire nationale d’IDF (Centres of national memory in the Ile-de-France) wrote.
“Totalitarian and obscurantist expressions will never have place here.”
Guillaume Boudy, the mayor of Suresnes, said: “On top of being a reprehensible act, no one will mix the brave fight of those who the memorial honours with the intentions of the perpetrators of this grafitti.”
France is facing surging Covid infections and rising numbers with the virus seeking medical attention.
Nightclubs have been closed until the new year and social distancing measures – both inside and outside – have been tightened as authorities hope to get the pandemic under control.