Protests in France
The work of graffiti artist Lekto showing Macron as Adolf Hitler in Avignon, France, will be removed. It was first noticed on Sunday in a parking lot in the southern French city. The mural shows Macron as Nazi Party dictator Adolf Hitler, wearing a dark suit and the numbers “49.3” in place of the dictator’s moustache.
The number refers to the infamous article 49.3 of the French constitution that the Macron government used to bypass parliament and implement controversial pension reforms.
Macron’s drawing also contains the words: “Non merci”, or “No, thanks”.
Although the graffiti artist at the bottom indicates that it is a “satirical” work, the Avignon city council has already said that the mural “will be removed as soon as possible at the request of the president and the prefect of Vaucluse”.
The City Council added: “Following the reactions and growing controversy caused by the new fresco located in a car park in Avignon, the prefect of Vaucluse has agreed with the president of Greater Avignon, the owner of the site, to its removal.”
It is not the first time that Lekto has been discredited by a caricature of Macron.
He will be tried in September for “inciting discrimination, violence and hatred through an anti-Semitic comment.” It revolves around a fresco in which Macron is presented as a puppet, manipulated by economist Jacques Attali.
The mural caused strong reactions on social networks where the anti-Semitic nature of the mural had been denounced.
According to La Provence, Lekto’s trial before the Avignon criminal court for “public insult on the grounds of origin, ethnicity, nation, race or religion, but also public provocation to discrimination” will take place on September 14.
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It comes as Macron faced weeks of violent protests across the country against his forced pension reform.
Concerns about police brutality have reverberated beyond France. Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights and the Council of Europe — the continent’s main human rights body — are among organisations that cited excessive use of force by police during what has been a largely peaceful protest movement.
French police are sent into demonstrations with stun grenades and rubber bullets which are prohibited in most European countries, according to Sebastian Roche, an expert on security forces with France’s National Center for Scientific Research.
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Demonstrations and potentially mutilating weapons are a combustible combination, Roche said, because “the temptation will be very big to use these armaments” especially when police come under a cascade of objects hurled at them, including Molotov cocktails.
The strategy is “at once very violent” and in some aspects illegal, Roche said, citing cases in which demonstrators were detained en masse and released without charges the next morning. Lawyers’ and magistrates’ associations have said such practices are an abuse of the law.
Videos of police brutality posted on social media largely fail to capture violence by black-clad ultra-leftists or anarchists who infiltrate the protest marches, destroy property and attack police officers.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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