Teacher faces anti-Semitism trial in France over protest sign

Placard had names of prominent politicians, businessmen and intellectuals, most of them Jewish

A teacher in eastern France will go on trial next month accused of seeking to incite racial hatred after carrying a sign that police said was clearly anti-Semitic at a protest against Covid-19 restrictions, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Cassandre Fristot, 34, was at the protest on Saturday in the city of Metz holding a sign denouncing President Emmanuel Macron's enforcement of a health pass in France to encourage people to be vaccinated.

The sign contained the names of prominent politicians, businessmen and intellectuals in France, most of them Jewish, and police said it "had a message that was manifestly anti-Semitic".

Ms Fristot, a former local councillor for the far-right National Rally, was detained on Monday and her home searched.

Metz prosecutor Christian Mercuri said her trial would start on September 8. If convicted, she could face a year in prison and a €45,000 ($53,000) fine.

On Monday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin shared on Twitter the image of Ms Fristot carrying the sign, describing it as "despicable" and later announcing she had been arrested.

"Anti-Semitism is a crime, not an opinion. Such words will not go unpunished," Mr Darmanin said.

About 237,000 people protested across France on Saturday against the Covid health pass, which critics say encroaches on civil liberties.

Mr Macron has said that people are neglecting their duty as citizens if they fail to get vaccinated.

Updated: August 10th 2021, 7:51 PM