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Paris Mayor Stabbed at City Hall - 2002-10-06

The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was stabbed in the stomach early Sunday, as he presided over an all-night, citywide arts festival. Officials say his injuries are not life-threatening. The incident is the latest of several attacks against public officials in France.

Witnesses said a man lunged at Mayor Bertrand Delanoe at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, during an all-night party at the Paris city hall. Suddenly, they said, they saw the mayor stretched flat out on the floor.

The 52-year-old Socialist mayor was taken to a hospital, where he underwent three hours of surgery. Spokesmen said he was treated for a number of wounds, but that his condition was not life-threatening.

France-Info radio reported, police are questioning the suspect, who was identified as a 39-year-old man known to local authorities.

The stabbing casts an ugly shadow over the city's first-ever white night, in which dozens of museums and other tourist attractions were open until dawn. France's Socialist Party secretary, Francois Holland, said he was shocked by the incident, telling France-Info that the stabbing raised questions about whether public figures should receive more security protection. At the same time, he said, public officials must mingle with their electorate freely, but inevitably they take risks in doing so.

In July, a young man allegedly tried to shoot President Jacques Chirac during France's traditional Bastille Day Parade. And earlier this year, another man gunned down several lawmakers in a Paris suburb, as they presided over a late-night meeting.

The incidents have profoundly shocked the country, and raised new questions about spiraling violence in France. Violence and insecurity were major campaign themes in this year's presidential and legislative elections.