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Three men suspected of ‘psychological violence’ at Eiffel Tower

Police officers patrol the Trocadero plaza after three men were questioned on suspicion of perpetrating ‘psychological violence’ after they allegedly placed five coffins at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (Michel Euler/AP)
Police officers patrol the Trocadero plaza after three men were questioned on suspicion of perpetrating ‘psychological violence’ after they allegedly placed five coffins at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (Michel Euler/AP)

Three men are under investigation in France on suspicion of committing “psychological violence”, prosecutors said on Monday.

The men allegedly placed five coffins at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, a Paris landmark that will feature prominently in the upcoming Olympic Games.

According to officials at the Paris prosecutor’s office, the three men — citizens of Bulgaria, Germany and Ukraine — placed the coffins, covered with a French flag that included an inscription of “French soldiers of Ukraine”, near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday,

On Monday, the three men were questioned by an investigative judge.

The prosecutor’s office is demanding that they be charged with “premeditated violence”, an offence that carries a three-year sentence and a fine of 45,000 euros (£38,000), the officials told The Associated Press.

Placing coffins at the foot of the Paris landmark that millions of tourists visit every year, “is considered an act of psychological violence,” they said.

It caused employees of the landmark and others “an inability to work”, the officials said.

The motive for the incident was unclear.

Those arrested in the Eiffel Tower incident include the driver of the vehicle that transported the coffins, a 39-year-old Bulgarian, as well as two people associated with him — a 25-year-old German man and a 16-year-old Ukrainian, who was arrested aboard a Berlin-bound Flixbus, the officials said.

France is on its highest alert level ahead of the summer games in Paris and the lavish open-air ceremony on the River Seine.

On Friday, French authorities raised preliminary terrorism charges against an 18-year-old accused of plotting to target spectators at football games at the Paris Olympics.

It was the first such thwarted plot targeting the Games, which start in eight weeks.