French police apologise to woman who tackled Macron on rape claims

An 18-year-old high school student questioned President Macron as to why he had supported the appointment of government ministers accused of rape. The next day, the police turned up at her school.

French police have apologised to a teenager they questioned after she tackled Macron on rape claims.
French police have apologised to a teenager they questioned after she tackled Macron on rape claims. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

French police have apologised to a woman after allegedly seeking to “intimidate” her after she challenged President Emmanuel Macron on rape allegations made against ministers.

The woman, called Laura, had shouted at Macron during a visit to the southern Tarn region Thursday, asking why he had “put men at the head of state who are accused of rape and violence against women”.

There have been separate rape accusations made against Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and the new Solidarity Minister Damien Abad, which both have denied.

In response, Macron said the men should be presumed to be innocent, as neither had been convicted.

Police officers subsequently visited the woman at her secondary school on Friday, interrupting a class she was attending to interview her, she told Le Parisien daily.

She could not be reached by AFP for comment.

She was reportedly asked if she wanted to file a complaint over comments she made during her exchange with the president.

But the woman, who characterised the visit as “intimidating,” said the conversation quickly turned to her comments the day before, with an officer telling her it “was not done”.

In a statement on social media Friday, police said their visit “was simply aimed at contacting this person, who presented herself as a victim, to suggest they make a formal complaint, or failing that to offer them help.

“We would like to apologise to her if our move to meet her at the high school to discuss this was misperceived and she considers that we were clumsy,” the statement added.

Images of the woman’s exchange with the president have been shared thousands of times on social media.

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Paris police warn tourists about ‘petition’ scam

Paris police have issued a warning to tourists to beware of scams targeting visitors that involve false petitions and donation drives.

Paris police warn tourists about 'petition' scam

The police préfecture in Paris has released an announcement warning tourists about a scam that might be used to target them especially. 

The scam involves young boys and girls asking people to sign their petitions and requesting that they give a donation. In reality, many people – especially tourists or those unfamiliar with the local area – find themselves giving their money away to a false organisation.

In other cases, the petition acts as a distraction while pickpockets target the visitors.

Frequently, these scams involve the young people feigning deafness or the inability to speak, and pretending to collect funds on behalf of NGO for the hard of hearing. 

The scam is just one of a number that criminals use to prey on tourists, and visitors return to Paris after a two-year break, police are warning people to be vigilant – especially in tourist hotspots such as Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower area or in transport interchanges such as Gare du Nord.

READ MORE: Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

For more advice on how to stay safe in Paris as a tourist, you can read the police “Guide for Staying Safe in Paris