"Gratitude to France" crossed out with black paint

The lower part of the Monument of Gratitude to France in Belgrade has been wrapped up in plastic foil on Tuesday by workers in the park where it is located.

Source: B92, Politika
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(Photo by Stefan Jovic, TV Prva)
(Photo by Stefan Jovic, TV Prva)

The reason is the crossing out of the inscription with black paint.

The monument, whose inscription contains an expression of gratitude to France, was unveiled on November 11, 1930, as a sign of friendship and mutual assistance between the two countries during WW1.

The plastic wrap to cover the defacing of the monument came after Sunday's scandal in Paris during a ceremony marking 100 years since the end of the war, when Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic - representing a country that came out of the war victorious and made huge sacrifices during it - was seated in the third row, in a tier opposite the other world and regional leaders.

The French ambassador in Belgrade on Monday offered an apology to Vucic and to the Serb people "because of the seating arrangement" during the ceremony in Paris.

The monument had been under reconstruction until recently, and was supposed to be unveiled again in a ceremony during the French president's visit here, announced for December.

Preparations for the visit are under way on the Belgrade Fortress these days, so there's currently work being done on access paths to this section of the park.

The tweet below contains a photo of the crossed-out inscription on the monument before the plastic wrap was placed over it:

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