PARIS (AP) — Three men are under investigation in France on suspicion of committing “psychological violence,” prosecutors said Monday, after they 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 are charged with “premeditated violence,” an offence that carries a three-year sentence and a 45,000 euro fine, 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, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a pending investigation.

The motive for the incident was unclear.

France is on its highest alert level ahead of the July 26-August 11 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 the soccer games at the Paris Olympics. It was the first such thwarted plot targeting the Games, which start in eight weeks.

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 Paris-Berlin bound Flixbus, the officials said.

The Olympic rings will be displayed on the Eiffel Tower. The Olympic and Paralympic medals in Paris are being embedded with pieces from a hexagonal chunk of iron taken from the 29-meter (95-foot-) -long and 15-meter (49-foot) -high monument.


Associated Press writer Barbara Surk in Nice, France, contributed to this report.


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