The southern French city of Marseille has been forced to scrap a system of yellow triangles intended to help spot homeless people after it was accused of employing Nazi-style tactics.
The cards, which were given to homeless people, detail their health issues and are yellow in order to be easily spotted.
Human rights groups and Government ministers criticised the "yellow triangle cards" in France's second city, saying they are stigmatising, and hark back to the Star of David sewn on to Jewish people's clothes during the Holocaust.
La Ligue des droits de l'Homme, a human rights group, said it was troubled by the resemblance of this card and the yellow star that the Jews had to wear during World War II.
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Marisol Touraine, the Social Affairs Minister, said: "I'm shocked. Forcing homeless people to carry a yellow triangle indicating the illnesses they might have is outrageous. You don't point the finger at the poorest."
The card and triangle, an initiative of Marseille's town hall and social services, identifies the person with his or her photograph, name and date of birth. It also details a person's illnesses or allergies.
The aim, local authorities said, was to help health workers quickly provide aid to a homeless person who falls ill. More than 100 triangles have been distributed.
About 100 activists and homeless people yesterday protested against the initiative outside the town hall.
Rene Giancarli, a senior medical official, said yesterday: "We are going to change the look of this card. Our aim was only to come to the aid of the destitute."
-Telegraph Group Ltd