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Man arrested over swastikas sprayed near Louvre museum in Paris

French interior minister laments ‘foul Nazi swastikas in the middle of Paris,’ as Georgian-born suspect held for property damage

A municipal worker cleans swastikas spray painted on columns of the Rivoli Street in central Paris on October 11, 2020. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP)
A municipal worker cleans swastikas spray painted on columns of the Rivoli Street in central Paris on October 11, 2020. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP)

PARIS, France — Paris authorities on Sunday arrested a man suspected of spraying swastikas on columns near the world-famous Louvre museum in the city’s historic center, prosecutors said.

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.

People walk near swastikas spray painted on columns of Rivoli Street in central Paris, on October 11, 2020. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP)

“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 that 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% increase in anti-Semitic acts.

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