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Cross must be removed from statue of Pope

The religious symbol must be removed from the top of a statue of Pope John Paul II in Ploërmel, Morbihan

France’s top administrative court the Conseil d’Etat has ruled that the cross must be removed as it is a religious symbol and breaks France's law of separation of Church and State of 1905. The rest of the statue, including an arch over the figure of the Pope, can remain in place.

The commune has six months to remove the cross, and has to pay €3000 to the National Federation of Free Thought (Fédération nationale de la libre-pensée) which has been fighting a legal battle to have the statue removed since 2015.

The eight metre high statue by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli was installed in 2006 and has been controversial from the beginning. La Croix reported at the time that it was given as a personal gift to mayor Paul Anselin, and was erected despite a strong "anti-statue" campaign in the town.

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