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The French prime minister is provoking anger by promoting the minister accused of rape as a watchdog

France’s new prime minister has sparked anger by promoting a colleague accused of rape as his interior minister, meaning the man will be responsible for enforcing French laws.

Prime Minister Jean Castex’s strong statement of support to the minister, Gerald Darmanin, followed Wednesday protests against his nomination by women’s rights organizations near the Elysee Palace in Paris a day earlier.

It also raised questions about whether President Emmanuel Macron is failing to deliver on his promises to make equality between men and women a priority.

Castex told broadcaster BFM-TV that he takes overall responsibility for the appointment of Darmanin. He was promoted from his previous job as budget minister.

“He, like everyone else, has the right to suspect innocence,” said Castex.

New French Prime Minister Jean Castex has sparked anger by promoting a rape accused colleague Gerald Darmanin as his interior minister

Darmanin will enforce French law

Darmanin will enforce French law

France’s new prime minister, Jean Castex, has sparked anger by promoting a rape accused colleague Gerald Darmanin as his interior minister, meaning the man will enforce French laws

Darmanin is being investigated for a rape allegation that he firmly denies.

Macron’s office said the probe was “no obstacle” to the appointment of Darmanin for his new job with the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The recently reopened investigation is based on a 2017 legal complaint from a woman alleging that Darmanin raped her when she asked him for legal help in 2009.

Darmanin, the top French official accused of sexual misconduct in the # MeToo era, says the meeting was consensual. He sued the woman for slander.

In another controversial appointment, Macron turned the Justice Department over to provocative attorney Eric Dupond-Moretti, who previously ridiculed the #MeToo movement and charged a top official accused of rape.

On Tuesday, feminist groups in Paris organized two protests over the appointments they see as Macron’s promises to make equality between women and men the “major cause” of his five-year term.

Castex 'strong support for the minister, Gerald Darmanin, sparked protests by women's rights organizations on Tuesday near the Elysee Palace in Paris

Castex 'strong support for the minister, Gerald Darmanin, sparked protests by women's rights organizations on Tuesday near the Elysee Palace in Paris

Castex ‘strong support for the minister, Gerald Darmanin, sparked protests by women’s rights organizations on Tuesday near the Elysee Palace in Paris

Castex told broadcaster BFM-TV that he takes overall responsibility for the appointment of Darmanin. He was promoted from his previous job as budget minister. Pictured: Feminist activists demonstrate against the appointment of Darmanin

Castex told broadcaster BFM-TV that he takes overall responsibility for the appointment of Darmanin. He was promoted from his previous job as budget minister. Pictured: Feminist activists demonstrate against the appointment of Darmanin

Castex told broadcaster BFM-TV that he takes overall responsibility for the appointment of Darmanin. He was promoted from his previous job as budget minister. Pictured: Feminist activists demonstrate against the appointment of Darmanin

Darmanin is being investigated for a rape allegation that he firmly denies. Pictured: A demonstrator holds a sign that reads “Shame of the reshuffle”

“It’s a slap in the face,” said Pauline Baron of the feminist group NousToutes, which campaigns against sexual violence.

“We are again celebrating people accused of rape or saying things that ignore victims’ voices. It suffocates victims and feeds sexual violence and rape culture. ‘

While the #MeToo movement encouraged women around the world to speak out about past sexual misconduct by powerful men, Dupond-Moretti criticized the ‘crazy’ women who ‘crucify’ men on social media.

He also rejected the world’s first law against cat calls and other street bullying, which was passed as a “ joke ” in France in 2018.

In a reshuffle of the French government on Monday, Macron replaced the high-profile minister of women’s rights behind that law, Marlene Schiappa.

“It’s a slap in the face,” said Pauline Baron of the feminist group NousToutes, which campaigns against sexual violence. Pictured: protesters hold up banners criticizing Darmanin’s nomination

Activists were also upset that President Emmanuel Macron handed the Justice Department over to the provocative attorney Eric Dupond-Moretti (pictured), who previously ridiculed the #MeToo movement and defended a top official accused of rape

Activists were also upset that President Emmanuel Macron handed the Justice Department over to the provocative attorney Eric Dupond-Moretti (pictured), who previously ridiculed the #MeToo movement and defended a top official accused of rape

Activists were also upset that President Emmanuel Macron handed the Justice Department over to the provocative attorney Eric Dupond-Moretti (pictured), who previously ridiculed the #MeToo movement and defended a top official accused of rape

Several dozen protesters later gathered in front of the Madeleine Church with columns near the Justice Department for a symbolic “burial” of Macron’s promises to combat sexism and sexist violence

She will now work under Darmanin in a new role that focuses on citizenship.

The #MeToo movement had a mixed reception in France, where many celebrated the art of seduction and were outraged by what they saw as American political correctness tarnishing French society.

French feminists, who have long sought to fight the oppression of women in a macho culture, welcomed the movement as a breakthrough that finally allowed victims to make their voices heard – although it did not lose powerful French figures.

At Tuesday’s first protest, near the President and Ministry of the Interior’s Elysee Palace, about 20 mostly masked protesters brandished sparklers, raised their fists, and chanted for the new Ministry of Interior’s resignation and Justice.

A group of male police officers pushed them back.

Several dozen protesters later gathered in front of the Madeleine Church with columns near the Justice Department for a symbolic “burial” of Macron’s promises to combat sexism and sexist violence.

After the new cabinet's first meeting on Tuesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal defended Macron's personnel choices

After the new cabinet's first meeting on Tuesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal defended Macron's personnel choices

After the new cabinet’s first meeting on Tuesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal defended Macron’s personnel choices

In response to the protests over the new ministers, Attal said, “There are investigations, they are underway, and that is normal, we are under the rule of law. “We can’t go a step further and say that because there are investigations, it will be impossible to serve in a government.”

“No rapist at the Ministry of the Interior, no accomplice at the Ministry of Justice!” the activists shouted.

After the new cabinet’s first meeting on Tuesday, government spokesman Gabriel Attal defended Macron’s personnel choices.

“We cannot, on the one hand, sanctify the presumption of innocence … and (on the other hand) believe that there are people who cannot take advantage of the presumption of innocence because of the function they hold,” said Attal.

Early in his presidency, Macron replaced the ministers targeted by corruption investigations.

In response to the protests over the new ministers, Attal said, “There are investigations, they are underway, and that is normal, we are under the rule of law.

“We can’t go a step further and say that because there are investigations, it will be impossible to serve in a government.”

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