The tomb of General de Gaulle, one of France’s most revered figures, has been vandalised.
CCTV captured the moment a man climbed onto the former president’s grave and kicked the base of the cross which rose above it, until it smashed to the ground.
It has sparked outrage at the village cemetery of Colombey-les-deux-Eglises in the northeastern department of Haute-Marne.
“It is terrible. It is inhuman, atrocious,” said one woman.
“It is a sad sight for me because General de Gaulle was someone who brought people together,” a man added.
“What he wanted was for all French people to care for each other.”
The vandal struck on Saturday, a national day of remembrance for France’s wartime resistance, led by General de Gaulle.
“Yes, there were witnesses. He didn’t hide. He just did it,” said Michel Deramond, Deputy Mayor of Colombey-les-deux-Eglises.
“Personally, I think it is the act of a disturbed individual.”
De Gaulle was a towering figure of 20th century French history, leading the nation’s resistance to Nazi occupation in World War Two, putting an end to its colonial war in Algeria in
1962 and serving as France’s president for a decade until 1969.
Outrage after General de Gaulle's tomb damaged by vandals https://t.co/zun16iEPTf— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) 28 mai 2017
He founded France’s Fifth Republic, which granted the president sweeping powers, and set a distinctive foreign policy that rejected the concept of US and Soviet world domination,
giving the French an independent voice on the world stage. De Gaulle died in 1970.
Police are still hunting the vandal and a second person, reportedly a woman, who waited for him in a car.