German war graves vandalised in France

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Drunken youths on motorbikes desecrated 73 tombs at a World War One cemetery for German soldiers in northeastern France, police said on Monday.

The vandals broke and uprooted crosses and one Jewish monument at the cemetery in Laon, but unlike some other grave desecrations in France the damage did not appear motivated by racism or xenophobia, a police source said.

"It was young people who had been drinking alcohol and held a rally on their motorbikes, breaking the crosses," a Laon police source told AFP, adding that police arrested two people over the vandalism.

"There is no xenophobic aspect to these deeds, only acts of alcoholism," said a separate source in the regional police authority. "These desecrations do not appear to be anti-German in nature."

The Champ-de-Manoeuvre cemetery houses the remains of German soldiers killed in battles throughout World War One, between 1914 and 1918.

© 2010 AFP

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