Paris policewoman hit by car outside French presidential palace

Police source denies reports that the collision was deliberate

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The Independent Online

A policewoman on duty outside Paris's Elysée Palace was run down and slightly injured by a car last night but French authorities insisted that the collision was an accident.

Earlier, a French police union official said that she believed that the car had struck the policewoman deliberately but accepted that the incident had no connection with terrorism.

A source close to the investigation said today: “It was just a road accident. What happened had no connection with the (terrorist) attacks of last week.”

The policewoman was on duty outside the Presidential palace in the 8th arrondissement of Paris last night when a car, travelling the wrong way on a one way street, collided with her. She was injured on the hand and shoulder blade.

President Francois Hollande, returning from a concert, comforted the injured woman while she was being treated in an ambulance.

The 19-year-old driver of the car and a  passenger ran away but were arrested soon afterwards. They remained in custody this morning. Two other passengers are still being sought.

Police said that, after questioning the two men, they were satisfied that the driver had panicked and lost control of the car when he found he was heading against the traffic on a one way street. “The driver had not been drinking and he certainly did not fit the profile of an Islamist radical,” a police source

Stéphanie Weber-Boyer, of the Alliance police union, had earlier told Europe 1 radio that she accepted the incident was not connected with last week’s terrorist mayhem in Paris. But she added:: “It seems that the driver deliberately sought to run down our colleague. The police officer says that  he looked her in the eyes and made no attempt to brake. Three eye-witnesses say the same thing.”

The incident nonetheless comes with Paris on high security alert following the publication of a new edition of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, whose offices were targeted in the most deadly of last week's attacks.

President Hollande said that the magazine had been "reborn" following an unprecedented print run of three million - later extended to five million - copies.

"Charlie Hebdo is alive and will live on," he said yesterday. "You can murder men and women but you can never kill their ideas."