Le Pen condemns of attack on Jewish gravestones

2nd April 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 2, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen on Monday joined in the broad condemnation from political leaders of a weekend attack on Jewish gravestones in the northern city of Lille.

PARIS, April 2, 2007 (AFP) - French far-right presidential candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen on Monday joined in the broad condemnation from political leaders of a weekend attack on Jewish gravestones in the northern city of Lille.

Le Pen described the desecration of some 50 tombstones in the Jewish section of the Lille cemetery at the weekend as a "hateful act" and noted that it was a "recurring event" during election campaigns.

"Attacking cemeteries, of whatever religion, is unbearable and stupid," said Le Pen in an interview to France Info radio.

President Jacques Chirac on Sunday ordered the government "to do everything possible to find the perpetrators of this infamy so that they are severely punished."

No graffiti was left on the 51 tombstones in the attack overnight Saturday to Sunday but "many were knocked down, some broken," said Lille prosecutor Philippe Lemaire.

On Sunday, many Jewish families had gathered at the Lille-Sud cemetery to assess the damage, visible along a long row of tombstones that were attacked on the eve of the Passover holiday.

The mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, described the attack as a "hateful anti-Semitic act" while the prosecutor said there had never been vandalism on such a scale in the region.

The prosecutor warned that the perpetrators could face between three to five years in prison while some 40 police investigators were put on the case.

France has one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world, estimated at up to 600,000 people.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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