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Astérix sorry for Nazi-like salute

Photo shows two costumed performers at theme park in the Oise taking part in anti-Semitic salute

PARC Astérix has apologised after a photo was published appearing to show two performers dressed as Astérix and Obélix taking part in a Nazi-like salute.

The photo spread rapidly on Twitter, and shows three visitors to the park and two employees in costume doing the "quenelle", in which one places a palm across the opposite shoulder.

It is a gesture vaguely similar to the Nazi salute and is interpreted as having anti-Semitic overtones.

The "quenelle" was popularised by the French comedian Dieudonné, who stood as a candidate for an anti-Zionist party in the 2009 European elections.

Dieudonné was convicted last month for a seventh time of incitement against Jews and hit with a fine.

The gesture is being treated with increasing seriousness by French government officials. President Hollande has recently suggested legislating against it.

Parc Astérix said in a statement on Twitter: "Astérix and Obélix are - and will remain - apolitical. Our actors did not realise the significance of this gesture and we apologise for that."

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