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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Racist vandals strike in France
Muslim man among desecrated tombs in Meinau cemetery, Strasbourg
France has experienced a spate of racist incidents
Vandals have daubed swastikas and other neo-Nazi graffiti on more than 50 Muslim graves at a cemetery in Strasbourg, eastern France.

President Jacques Chirac vowed to pursue those responsible for the graffiti, which was also sprayed in the village of Wittersdorf, to the south.

At the weekend, vandals damaged a wall painting by Jewish and Gypsy children imprisoned during World War II.

The fresco was attacked with hammers in the southern town of Rivesaltes.

It is not yet clear who carried out the attacks.

The neo-Nazi slogans sprayed at Strasbourg's Meinau cemetery included "HH" - standing for "Heil Hitler" - "Sieg Heil" and "Adolf".

President Chirac condemned the "gestures of hate" and Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin went to the region on Monday to discuss the incident with local officials.

Last month vandals also daubed swastikas on graves at a Christian cemetery in Alsace, eastern France, and at a nearby Jewish cemetery.

France has suffered a wave of anti-Semitic violence coinciding with renewed fighting in the Middle East.

Last week, the justice ministry reported 180 acts of anti-Semitism so far this year.




SEE ALSO:
Expelled imam 'gets French visa'
17 May 04  |  Europe
Cemetery desecrated in France
03 May 04  |  Europe
French mosque fires draw protest
07 Mar 04  |  Europe
Desecration of the dead
08 Dec 03  |  Magazine


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