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CRIME

Paris police arrest man over swastika graffiti near Louvre

Paris authorities on Sunday arrested a man suspected of spraying swastikas on columns near the world-famous Louvre museum in the city's historic centre, prosecutors said.

Paris police arrest man over swastika graffiti near Louvre
Swastika sprayed on the Rue de Rivoli in central Paris. Photo: AFP

The red paint swastikas were spotted along the upscale Rue de Rivoli artery in central Paris early on Sunday morning, leading passers-by to post pictures on social media.

Security officers arrested the man, the Paris mayor's office said on Twitter, while prosecutors said that he was being investigated for property damage.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin lamented the “foul Nazi swastikas in the middle of Paris”, but praised the officers for reacting quickly.

 

“Cleaning teams will be on the scene quickly to eliminate all trace of these messages,” city hall said.

A source close to the probe told AFP the suspect was born in Georgia in the Caucasus region in 1989.

Government figures recorded a 38-percent increase in racist incidents in France in 2019, including a 27-percent increase in antisemitic acts.

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FRENCH POLITICS

French minister investigated after rape allegations

A junior minister in President Emmanuel Macron's government is under investigation after two allegations of rape were brought against her, French prosecutors have said.

French minister investigated after rape allegations

The allegations go back to when Chrysoula Zacharopoulou – who is now state secretary for development, Francophonie and international partnerships – worked as a gynaecologist, according to French magazine Marianne.

One complaint was lodged on May 25th and the investigation opened two days later, the prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16th.

Greece-born Zacharopoulou, 46, joined the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in May, having been a member of the European Parliament for the previous three years. She reports to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

She gained prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis together with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French president Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou was strongly involved in the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine rollout effort, and has spoken out in favour of women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to overshadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulty for the president after he failed to retain a majority in parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors investigated Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over an allegation for rape filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in
January asked for the case to be dropped.

Rape allegations were also made against Solidarities minister Damien Abad last month but French prosecutors have said they were not currently opening an investigation.

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