Two dozen posters depicting Emmanuel Macron as Adolf Hitler have appeared on the streets of a city in southern France.
The posters, which show France’s president with greying hair and 49.3 in the place of the Nazi leader’s trademark moustache, were spotted in Avignon.
The 49.3 reference is a nod to the French government’s controversial pension reforms, which will see the minimum retirement age rise from 62 to 64.
They were approved by France’s parliament, the Assemblée nationale, without MPs voting.
That is because the government instigated article 49.3 of the French constitution allowing this.
Emblazoned on the posters in Avignon were the words ‘Non merci’ with ‘la désobéissance civile devient un devoir sacré quand l'État devient hors-la-loi ou corrompu’, which means ‘civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes outlawed or corrupt’ and is a quote of Mahatma Gandhi.
Jusqu'où iront-ils dans l'indignité et dans l'abject ?— Renaud Muselier (@RenaudMuselier) May 18, 2023
Il est grand temps de sanctionner de la façon la + sévère possible ceux qui s'adonnent à de telles campagnes odieuses. Condamnation totale, et soutien à @EmmanuelMacron ! https://t.co/x7KNFQ3uRa
France Bleu reported Avignon’s public prosecutor had opened an investigation into insulting the president and inciting rebellion.
The posters are copies of the controversial work of graffiti artist Lekto, which appeared in Avignon in early April.
The same artist is already being prosecuted in another investigation for incitement to hatred after a fresco appeared showing Macron as a puppet manipulated by the economist Jacques Attali.
Avignon’s mayor condemned the latest posters in a press release sent to the AFP news agency.
“Such actions are unacceptable and extremely serious and dangerous for our democracy, for what they convey in amalgams and historical shortcuts,” said Cécile Helle.
“Our republic has always been based on citizen respect for elected officials, from the local level to the highest office of President of the Republic.”
Violaine Demaret, the prefect of the Vaucluse department in which Avignon sits, also hit out at the posters.
"If freedom of expression must be respected, it must not lead to confusion with the darkest hours of our history," she said.
Renaud Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, said: “How far will they go in indignity and abjectness? It is high time to punish in the most severe way possible those who indulge in such odious campaigns.”