A British policewoman was reportedly raped near the Eiffel Tower
A British policewoman on holiday in Paris has reportedly told police she was raped at knifepoint near the Eiffel Tower.
The 23-year-old, whose name has not been revealed, said she was sexually assaulted on Monday in the Champs de Mars, the park surrounding Paris’s most famous monument.
The policewoman said that the attack occurred around 11 p.m., not far from the Peace Wall, a memorial on the Champs de Mars inspired by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, on which the word “peace” is written in many languages.
Le Parisien newspaper reported that the victim was spending the night with a friend in the French capital.
The attacker pounced after she went behind a bush to go to the toilet.
The policewoman said that she was only separated from her friend for a few moments when a man threatened her with a knife. She said she then suffered “digital hacking” and sexual assault.
After the man fled, she called the police. A crime prevention team rushed to the scene, and the victim was treated by firefighters.
Police arrested a 35-year-old man about an hour after the woman reported the attack and provided a description of the suspect. He was detained all night.
Popular with tourists and locals
The incident came less than three months after a tourist from Mexico announced that she had been raped in the same park.
A 27-year-old woman told authorities that the attack occurred in the early hours of July 27.
Two men were arrested on suspicion of rape, but were released shortly after.
Champ de Mars is a large park extending from the Eiffel Tower and is very popular with tourists and locals.
It will loom large at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris when beach volleyball is held at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and judo and wrestling take place on the temporary Champ de Mars arena at the other end of the park.
Unlike most Parisian parks that close at night, the Champ de Mars is accessible 24 hours a day.
The recent rape incident has revived pressure on Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to close the park at night for safety reasons.
Paris has witnessed a series of sexual assault cases in recent weeks.
In early August, a 47-year-old woman was raped at knifepoint on Rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement east of the capital after a man entered her ground-floor apartment while she was sleeping with the window open.
A few days later, an Austrian woman said she was raped in the street after leaving a bar in the 10th arrondissement.
A 55-year-old woman was raped in late August in the elevator of her building in Batignolles, in the 17th arrondissement. A 27-year-old woman said she was raped on September 30 while returning home on Oberkampf Street, in the 11th arrondissement.
According to the Paris police, about 67 rapes were committed in public places in the city from January 1 to August 31, that is, two fewer cases compared to the same period last year.
France is currently on high alert after a fatal knife attack on a teacher in Arras, northern France, last Friday
France deployed seven thousand additional soldiers to patrol key areas after the attack.
Earlier Tuesday, the Palace of Versailles was evacuated due to a bomb threat.
This is the second time within days that the former French royal residence has been evacuated.