French President Emmanuel Macron visited a Jewish cemetery in eastern France where 96 graves were desecrated with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans overnight as the nation has seen a spike in attacks targeting Jewish people in recent weeks, Reuters reported.
It was discovered just hours ahead of nationwide marches called to denounce a surge in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate speech.
According to the news service, thousands rallied on Tuesday to decry the rise in anti-Semitic acts in France.
“Whoever did this is not worthy of the French Republic and will be punished. … We’ll take action, we’ll apply the law and we’ll punish them,” Macron said, according to Reuters.
“Some people are provoking the authority of the state. It needs to be dealt with now and extremely firmly,” former French president Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters, according to Reuters. “It’s a real question of authority. Violence is spreading and it needs to stop now.”
In December, roughly 40 tombstones and a monument to Holocaust victims were also defaced with swastikas at a Jewish cemetery in France.