French officials on Wednesday urged women to report any cases of sexual assault during the celebrations of France’s World Cup win, after dozens of accounts by victims emerged on social media.
“These cases must be brought to our attention so that investigations can be carried out,” Paris police chief Michel Delpuech said on Europe 1 radio.
“Our services will obviously pursue any aggressors without fail if they are identified,” he said.
Reports of forced kisses and groping began appearing on Twitter after France won the final against Croatia on Sunday night, when hundreds of thousands of fans poured onto the streets of Paris and other cities.
Others recounted sexual assaults during other World Cup matches or at the team’s victory parade in the Champs Elysees avenue on Monday.
Eventually people began using the hashtag #MeTooFoot, a nod to the Me Too movement that sprang up in the wake of rape and assault claims against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
One 20-year-old student who was on the Champs Elysees on Sunday night when “a man came up behind me, I felt his hands on my bottom, then he grabbed my crotch.” “Today when I think of the final, I can’t think of anything else,” she told AFP.
Two people have been detained over suspected sexual assaults in Paris, including a minor, a judicial source revealed.
It remained unclear, however, if there was an increase in the number of assaults linked to the World Cup crowds.
According to the interior ministry, the number of rape claims filed with the Paris police on Monday was half the number reported on the same date last year.
No increases in claims were noted in any other large cities, it added.