Europe

French candidate Fillon floats prosecuting teens as adults

  • French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives in Compiegne, north of Paris, for a meeting on security matters, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives in Compiegne, north of Paris, for a meeting on security matters, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

  • A demonstrator holds a poster reading "Fillon in jail" before French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon' campaign meeting in Compiegne, north of Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Nadine Achoui-Lesage)

    A demonstrator holds a poster reading "Fillon in jail" before French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon' campaign meeting in Compiegne, north of Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Nadine Achoui-Lesage)  (The Associated Press)

  • French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives in Compiegne, north of Paris, for a meeting on security matters, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon arrives in Compiegne, north of Paris, for a meeting on security matters, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Fillon's campaign has been flailing since weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that his wife and children were paid public funds for allegedly fake jobs as his parliamentary aides. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon wants to prosecute 16 and 17-year-olds as adults, arguing it would prevent the kind of unrest that has rocked low-income Paris suburbs following an alleged police rape.

With his campaign struggling under corruption allegations, Fillon sought to burnish his tough-on-security image Wednesday with proposals likely to please far-right voters.

He complained that many minors were involved in the recent suburban unrest, but said they are "virtually untouchable because the law protects them more than their victims."

Fillon did not mention the incident that prompted the disturbances: an alleged rape of a young black man by police in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.

Protests against police violence erupted in other towns, and crowds gathered in Paris on Wednesday to call for justice for the man.