'Shame on you:' maid protest greets Strauss-Kahn
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrival at court Monday was greeted by boos and repeated chants of "Shame on you!" from a group of about 100 women dressed as maids.
The chants were so loud they could be heard through the 13th floor of the courtroom where Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting a hotel chambermaid last month.
The 62-year-old, who denies all seven counts, including attempted rape, in what prosecutors say was a brutal assault on a 32-year-old immigrant from west Africa, ignored the chants and booing.
Stepping out of a black sport utility vehicle, the former French presidential hopeful had a serious expression on his face as he calmly entered the court building, his wife Anne Sinclair smiling lightly on his arm.
The women dressed as maids, who came in on a specially organized bus, wore black and white costumes and chanted "Shame on you! Shame on you!" non-stop, their voices rising above the scrum of journalists and court officials.
Strauss-Kahn entered his formal plea before Judge Michael Obus in the Manhattan court, setting the stage for a lengthy trial process.
His arrest and quick resignation from his post as head of the International Monetary Fund threw the global lender and economic policy powerhouse into disarray just as it grapples with debt crises in the European Union.
Many in France believe that the Socialist party figure has been mistreated, but the case has also stirred unusually vigorous debate in the country over long-taboo subjects such as sexual harassment.
© 2011 AFP