July 11, 2020 / 5:43 AM / a month ago

Hundreds of French women protest against new interior minister

Feminist activists demonstrate against the appointments of French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti in the new French government, in front of the city hall in Paris, France, July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of women protested in central Paris on Friday against the appointment of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is under investigation for a rape allegation.

Darmanin, who denies the allegation, was promoted to the key post of interior minister in a government reshuffle on Monday. Darmanin, 37, had previously served as budget minister.

Demanding his immediate resignation, the women waved placards with messages such as “Sexist government, feminist riposte”. Their protest follows a smaller one outside the interior ministry involving a few dozen women on Tuesday.

A judge dismissed the case against Darmanin two years ago, but last month the Paris appeal court ordered the reopening of an investigation into the rape allegation, a judicial source has told Reuters.

The government has said the investigation against him was no reason to block his appointment.

The court decision means that an investigating judge will now decide whether there is a case to pursue with a formal investigation, after it was previously dismissed after just a preliminary probe.

Reporting by Benoit Tessier; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Gareth Jones

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