Prosecutors in France have opened an investigation after a hoarding featuring a photomontage of Emmanuel Macron as Hitler appeared on a street, according to reports.
The poster, which was apparently displayed in response to the French government’s vaccine policy, showed the president’s face superimposed with the Nazi dictator’s moustache, hair and military uniform.
France Bleu, part of the national public broadcasting group Radio France, reported that two of the posters appeared in recent days: one in the Mediterranean coastal city of Toulon and another in nearby La Seyne-sur-Mer.
The posters include the words: “Obey, get vaccinated.” One of the signs had the word “honte”, or shame, written over the top, France Bleu reported.
An investigation was said to have been opened on Tuesday by the prosecutor's office in Toulon to establish the identity of the owner of the signs.
France has historically had a higher than average level of vaccine hesitancy, but on Monday the government introduced a bill requiring all health care workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus and requiring Covid passes to enter restaurants and other venues.
The fast-track legislation comes into force on Wednesday for cultural and recreational venues, and early August for restaurants, bars and other places.
Polls suggest most French people support the measures, but they have prompted anger among some, with vandals targeting two vaccination centers in southwest France over the weekend.
One was set on fire, and another covered in graffiti, including a reference to the Nazi occupation of France.
On Saturday, more than 100,000 people marched around France against government vaccine rules, with some demonstrators wearing yellow stars recalling the ones the Nazis forced Jews to wear.
Other demonstrators carried signs evoking the Auschwitz death camp or South Africa's apartheid regime, claiming the French government was unfairly mistreating them with its anti-pandemic measures.
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal condemned the “absolutely abject comparisons” of vaccine rules to Nazi atrocities.
“We are in a fourth wave,” he said after a Monday evening Cabinet meeting. “We won't cede to a dictatorship of images and outrageous words.”
Additional reporting by agencies
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