A regional court in Valence, southern France, sentenced the man who slapped President Emmanuel Macron to four months in prison and another 14 months of suspended prison, Hungarian news portal Mandiner reports.
Damien Tarel, 28, a fan of medieval martial arts, admitted to hitting the head of state during his visit to the small commune of Tain-l’Hermitage. The man told investigators he had slapped Macron, who Tarel views was a symbol of France’s decline, out of a sudden burst of emotion.
“When I saw his friendly, lying face, I felt disgust and a violent reaction erupted from me,” he told the court, adding that “It was an impulsive act, I was even surprised by the violence myself.”
French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face while attending a public event in southeast France. Footage shows Mr Macron approach a barrier to greet a man who, instead of shaking hands, slapped the 43-year-old | https://t.co/WxkP7dUS1a pic.twitter.com/BT8KzZfUBn
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 8, 2021
He added that he felt betrayed by Macron and had previously fantasized with his friends about throwing eggs or cake at the president, but in the end they rejected the idea.
The Valence Public Prosecutor in the southeast of the country has demanded an 18-month prison sentence for premeditated violence against a state official. Tarel was eventually sentenced to four months to be served and another 14 months suspended, and has been banned for the rest of his life from holding any public office, as well as an interdiction to carry weapons for five years.
The man called himself a “radical right-wing patriot” and a member of the yellow vest movement for economic reasons.
As Remix News reported earlier, the incident happened on Tuesday during the president’s visit to Tain-l’Hermitage, and a recording of the case was also made and shared on social media. Macron called the attack an isolated event, indicating that such aggression would not stop him.
Macron went to greet the locals separated from him by a cordon and when he headed for the crowd he wanted to shake hands with a man with a dark beard in a khaki shirt wearing a ponytail, who, however, slapped the president in the face.
The attacker shouted “Down with Le Macronia” and the battle cry of the French royalists (Montjoie Saint Denis!). Two of Macron’s bodyguards tackled the man to the ground while a third removed the president from near him. The events were condemned by the entire French political spectrum.
Title image: Police officers leave the courtroom as the man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron is tried, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Valence, central France. The 28-year-old Frenchman who described himself as a right-wing or extreme-right “patriot” was sentenced to four months in prison Thursday for slapping President Emmanuel Macron in the face. (AP Photo/Laurent Cirpriani)