French World War Two memorial vandalised with anti-health pass slogan

A memorial to French World War II soldiers and Resistance fighters has been vandalised with an anti-health pass slogan, authorities said, an act that President Emmanuel Macron branded an "insult" to the nation's memory.

President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony at the Mont Valerien World War Two monument on November 11th, 2021
French President Emmanuel Macron attended the monument on November 11th. Photo:Christophe Petit Tesson / POOL / AFP

The Mont Valerien monument in Suresnes, west of Paris, was vandalised with “Anti Pass” painted in large letters, with the style of the double-s reminiscent of that used by Nazis for their SS inscriptions, authorities said.

The inscription on the monument – which was inaugurated in 1960 by then-president Charles de Gaulle – is 50m long, they said.

Macron called the act, “an insult to the memory of our heroes and the memory of the nation”.

In a tweet, he said that “to sully this sacred place of the republic is to violate what unites us. The perpetrators will be found and put on trial.”

France requires a health pass, which demonstrates proof of vaccination, Covid recovery or a negative test result, for access to restaurants and cafes, public transport and cultural venues, a requirement that sparked major protests last summer.

The government is pushing for a fast rollout of booster shots in an effort to avoid another lockdown, amid a fifth wave of infections and concerns over the new Omicron variant.

It has also said the pass will lapse after seven months for anyone who fails to get a booster shot.

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France introduces €1,500 fine for drunk hunters

Hunters who are caught with a gun or bow in their hand while drunk face fines of €1,500 - or €3,000 for repeat offenders - under France's new laws aimed at cutting fatal accidents linked to 'la chasse'.

France introduces €1,500 fine for drunk hunters

Hunting in France is controversial – not only on animal rights grounds, but because of the numbers of fatal accidents that take place each season – some of which involve passers-by such as hikers, cyclists and dog-walkers being shot by mistake by hunters.

The government earlier this year announced a 14-point plan to improve safety around la chasse (hunting, which in France mainly means shooting) and on Sunday the new law was published in the Journal Officiel.

READ ALSO How to get through the French hunting season without getting shot

It decrees a fine of €1,500 for “being in a state of obvious intoxication while carrying a firearm or bow while hunting”. This would rise to €3,000 for anyone convicted more than once.

High profile cases of hunting accidents include people who have been caught in the crossfire while cycling or hiking, or shot while in their own gardens having been mistaken for a deer or a wild boar. 

In many cases of hunting accidents, the hunter who fired the fatal shot was under the influence of alcohol. 

However, hunting-related accidents have fallen steeply over the last 20 years following the introduction of several new codes of conduct and the tightening of the rules around licences and gun ownership.

In the 2022/23 hunting season, 78 accidents were recorded – of which six were fatal. All of those who died were hunters themselves, rather than passers-by.

The government’s latest hunting-related rules include, in addition to the €1,500 fines, an online platform for obtaining hunting licences and the standardisation of signs that hunts must put up to inform members of the public that they are hunting nearby. 

They rejected proposals to ban hunting on weekends or during school holidays, which some lobby groups had called for.

Hunting is a hugely popular activity in France, around 5 million people have shotgun licences and there are 1.03 million practising hunters in France. Every year, some 20,000 new hunters obtain their licence.