Jewish cemetery desecrated in NE France

11th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

METZ, France, May 11 (AFP) - Scores of tombstones were overturned in a Jewish cemetery at Sarreguemines in eastern France, local police said Wednesday.

METZ, France, May 11 (AFP) - Scores of tombstones were overturned in a Jewish cemetery at Sarreguemines in eastern France, local police said Wednesday.  

The profanation, in which about 65 of the 500 graves in the cemetery were knocked down and piled on top of one another, occurred between Sunday and Tuesday and was discovered by a municipal employee. The cover was lifted entirely off one of the graves.  

Police chief Alfred Bickel said a forensic unit was seeking fingerprints and other evidence at the scene.  

In addition, a swastika was carved at the entrance to a Christian cemetery nearby.   French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin expressed outrage at the desecration.  

"In the face of such a hateful act, he expresses his deep solidarity with all those who feel bruised today," said a statement released by his office.  

"Police have been asked to act swiftly to arrest and bring to justice without delay those who brought about this scandal."  

The statement added that the government would pursue its fight against anti-Semitism which it called "an intolerable wound for the Republic".  

Police said the cemetery at Sarreguemines had not previously been profaned.   Eighteen tombs were also desecrated at a cemetery in the north-eastern town of Charleville-Mezieres, probably overnight Monday.  

In February, the human rights monitoring body of the Council of Europe said it was concerned about a sharp increase in anti-Semitism in France.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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