A crowd of Yellow Vest protesters broke into and trashed a Masonic lodge in the French village of Tarbes. The ransacking has been condemned by the French government, who accused the protesters of “stupidity” and “intolerance.”
Some 450 protesters had gathered in Tarbes on Saturday for the 17th straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations. Around midnight, La Dépêche paper reported, some protesters began shouting “we’re going to the freemasons!”
A smaller crowd of protesters marched on the Masonic temple, with one battering down the door of the secretive organization’s clubhouse. More protesters pelted rocks at the building and eventually the group forced its way inside. They overturned furniture, trashed the esoteric art hanging on the walls, and stole four ceremonial swords; they gave these back later on.
Police have opened an investigation, and France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner condemned the vandalism.
“After the Jews, the Freemasons,” he tweeted, alluding to alleged anti-Semitism within the ranks of the protesters. “When stupidity encounters intolerance, it is the worst.” Castaner also accused the Yellow Vests of having “no other project than hatred.”