A man suspected of striking a young woman on a Paris street in July has been taken into custody, sources told AFP. Surveillance footage of the assault went viral and sparked public outcry, echoing the alarm of the bar patrons shown witnessing it.
The man, being held in Paris after he was taken into custody leaving a psychiatric hospital, “fits the description of the suspect sought”, a police source said. The victim of July’s assault, 22-year-old Marie Laguerre, has yet to identify the man as her attacker, the source added.
The inquiry was opened in late July for “sexual harassment” and “violence with a weapon” – in this case an ashtray thrown at the victim – resulting in an injury that caused her to miss some work.
Laguerre posted footage of the incident on her Facebook page on July 25 and described how the man had made "humiliating" comments paired with whistles and explicit language as she was on her way home in northeastern Paris.
"So I let out a, "Shut up!" while continuing on my way," she wrote. "Because I do not tolerate this type of behaviour. I cannot keep silent and we must not be silent."
But "this man didn't like that", she continued, explaining that he first threw an ashtray at her before following her and then "hitting her in the face in the street, in broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses".
Laguerre’s response to her assault and the footage were shared around the world on social media.
She has since launched a website – www.noustoutesharcelement.fr – with the support of feminist activist groups. The site provides a platform for others who have been similarly sexually harassed in the street to tell their stories anonymously.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)