Sacre-Coeur Basilica targeted in paint attack

Anarchists blamed for daubed slogans

The Mayor of Paris has condemned a paint attack on one of France’s most well known Catholic basilicas.

On March 18, unknown vandals scrawled painted messages across the entranceway to the Sacré-Coeur basilica in the French capital’s Montmartre district.

An apparently random set of anti-authority messages, some of the paintwork was anti-religious in tone. One message declared: “Set fire to chapels.” Another stated: “Neither God, nor master, nor state.”

This latter message has led investigators to focus on anarchist elements in Paris.

Reacting to news of the attack, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë said: “I strongly condemn the graffiti that was sprayed last night on the entrance of the basilica. Such defacing – and it’s not the first – is unacceptable.”

His words have been echoed by other politicians in France.

Just a day before the paint attack, Sacré-Coeur was the site of a major celebration among Ireland’s expat community for St Patrick’s Day, the first time the basilica has been used in marking the Irish feast day.