Anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled on monument in French cemetery
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Anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled on monument in French cemetery

Swastika accompanied by the phrase ‘Passkon a pa le shoah’ (a denial of the Holocaust) inscribed in red on monument near Lyon

A swastika and the words 'Shoa blabla' was on the monument in the Garden of Remembrance in the Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or cemetery, on February 20, 2019. (JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)
A swastika and the words 'Shoa blabla' was on the monument in the Garden of Remembrance in the Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or cemetery, on February 20, 2019. (JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

Vandals scrawled anti-Jewish graffiti on a monument in a cemetery in the French village of Champagne-au-Mont-d’Or on Wednesday, local officials said.

Two swastikas were drawn upside down in red with the inscription, “Shoa blabla,” an AFP photographer said. Another swastika was accompanied by the phrase, “Passkon a pa le shoa,” a denial of the Holocaust.

Local newspaper Le Progres said that the monument was near a Catholic cemetery and that a Jewish part of the burial site was not vandalized.

The discovery came a day after rallies against anti-Semitism attracted crowds of thousands in Paris and other French cities following a series of attacks on Jewish targets, including a cemetery in eastern France where 96 gravestones were spray-painted with swastikas.

The rally in Paris was attended by former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

French President Emmanuel Macron went to the Shoah Memorial, a Holocaust museum in Paris, to observe a moment of silence with parliament leaders. He also visited the cemetery in the Alsace region and promised: “We shall act, we shall pass laws, we shall punish.”

French President Emmanuel Macron holds children by the hands as he visit the vandalized Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, eastern France, February 19, 2019. (Frederick Florin, Pool via AP)

Macron and his government have linked the spike in anti-Semitic acts in part to elements within the “yellow vest” protest movement.

He was set to announce measures to fight the flare-up in anti-Semitism during a dinner with Jewish community leaders later on Wednesday, in an address to the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, Europe’s biggest Jewish community.

Pascal Mailhos, a senior official in Lyon condemned the latest act “with the greatest firmness” and said that “anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, or any other form of hatred have no place in our Republic.”

Alain Lambert, a Jewish community leader in La Duchère, a Lyon neighborhood, said: “There are people from outside who are doing everything they can to put the different communities in France in opposition.”

He warned of an increase of anti-Semitic acts in France and called on authorities to take swift action and find the perpetrators.

The Lyon prosecutor’s office had opened an investigation, officials said.

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