Translated from Italian by act for freedom now
Le Figaro / Wednesday 19th March 2014
On the columns and all around the churchyard graffiti were found: ‘Fire to the churches’, ‘No Gods no masters’ [‘no State’ too, as can be seen from the pictures]. Other graffiti refer to two militants imprisoned following an explosive attack on a Spanish basilica. The police of the XVIII arrondissement took charge of the inquiry after graffiti were found on Tuesday, insulting and defacing the churchyard of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris.
On the columns of the church, which is closed from 11pm to 6am, unknown people wrote anarchist and anticlerical slogans with red spray-paint and in 50-centimetre characters: ‘Fire to the churches’, ‘No Gods no masters’, ‘Down with all authorities’ and ‘Fuck tourism’.
Other graffiti call for ‘solidarity with Monica and Francisco’, probably referring to Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar, two Chilean militants imprisoned in Spain following a dynamite attack on the basilica of Pilar in Zaragoza, which occurred on 2nd October 2013. A gas cylinder filled with black powder had caused major damage to the interior of the church, and had injured a person. The attack was claimed by ‘Comando Insurreccional Mateo Morral’, a small group that had also claimed the attack on the La Almudena cathedral in Madrid on 7th February 2013.
From prison ‘Monica and Francisco’ issued a communiqué threatening a ‘general disaster’.
On Wednesday the responsible for Sacré-Coeur will lodge a complaint to the police of the XVIII arr. ‘There was no other desecration in Paris’ said the Prefecture.
Wind of indignation in full political campaign
The graffiti, found out in full political campaign for the municipal elections, stirred a wind of indignation. Considering that the graffiti are ‘an insult to Catholics and a serious violation of an emblematic monument of the architectural heritage of Paris’, Manuel Valls [the minister of the interior] issued a communiqué on Wednesday, where he stated that ‘any time a house of God is targeted in that way, the basic principles of our Republic are also attacked’. ‘We’ll do anything to identify and arrest the perpetrators of this action so that they can respond of it in front of the justice’. The minister of the interior is ‘keen on showing his support to the Catholics in France, at a time when a symbol of their faith has been desecrated in that way’.
While Philippe Martel, a candidate for Front National [at the municipal elections of the XVIII arrondissement] denounced ‘an anti-Christian atmosphere behind such actions’, Anne Hidalgo, a candidate for Parti Socialiste at the municipal elections in Paris, and former minister of justice Rachida Dati [of right-wing UMP] – in separate communiqués – denounced the ‘profanation’, highlighted the importance of freedom of worship and demanded a judicial response.
[Note: the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur is a major religious (and tourist!) venue in Paris. It was built in 1875, as atonement for the ‘crimes of the communards’ and the defeat to Prussia in1870. In the French collective memory the basilica is strongly associated with the bloody repression of the Commune of Paris, which cost 30,000 victims. The Commune was formed on 18th March 1871]