French authorities opened a probe into a performance during which an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron was beheaded by Yellow Vest protesters in the city of Angouleme, Charente, on December 21, the day the president celebrated his 41st birthday.
Photos of the performance immediately became viral across French media and social media, catching the attention of authorities.
Officials representing the Charente prefecture on Saturday reacted to the performance with outrage, stating: "These events seriously affect both the person and the function of the President of the Republic."
🚧 #GiletsJaunes: un pantin à l'effigie d'Emmanuel Macron a été décapité à #Angoulême. La préfecture de Charente dénonce une "mise en scène macabre". (Sud Ouest / Charente libre) pic.twitter.com/hXy97bYddI— .INFOS (@InfosDeFr) 22 декабря 2018 г.
The performance is "likely to be classified as criminal," a prefecture official tweeted.
Shortly thereafter, a criminal probe was opened into the event, confirmed by regional prosecutor Jean-David Cavaillé. According to Cavaillé, the act has been classified as a "provocation to crime and contempt."
The performance met mixed reactions on social media, with many arguing that the yellow vest protest movement has "degenerated" and is becoming "illegal."
On Friday, the French Senate backed a draft law on emergency economic and social measures declared by authorities in response to the Yellow Vest protests. The proposed measures include annual bonuses for employees and exemptions from increased social security tax for pensioners who earn less than 2,000 euros (over $2,200) per month.