PARIS - The French newspaper Le Monde said that the freshly-released cover photo featuring President Emmanuel Macron was inspired by works of Russian constructivists.

Le Monde was forced to apologise to its readers for the cover photo of its weekly magazine M after some drew parallels between the photo of President Emmanuel Macron on a red-and-white background with a black Gothic letter “M” right behind him and the black-and-white image of Nazi Germany’s Hitler standing in front of the red-and-white flag of the Third Reich with a black swastika.

Chief Editor for the publication Luc Bronner wrote that the cover of the magazine from 29 December, “provoked criticism” from some readers.

“We apologise to all those who were shocked by its graphic design, which obviously does not correspond to the criticism we have addressed”, the journalist penned, adding that the designers drew inspiration from the works of Russian constructivists in the beginning of the 20th century.

He also recalled that the artist, Lincoln Agnew, had previously designed several magazine covers in a similar style.

The issue was released amid the yellow vest protests that have been ongoing nationwide since mid-November. The demonstrators initially took to the streets to protest fuel tax hikes, but the rallies have since evolved into a broader movement against government policies, with some French people calling for the resignation of Macron.