, Man jailed for slapping President Macron in the face, Nzuchi Times

Man jailed for slapping President Macron in the face

A 28-year-old man has received a four-month prison sentence after slapping French President Emmanuel Macron in the face.

Damien Tarel was also given an additional 14-month suspended sentence for the offence, which took place on Tuesday as the leader was greeting a crowd in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage in southeastern France.

Tarel was banned from ever holding public office and from owning weapons for five years.

He was quickly arrested after the slap that hit Macron’s left cheek and charged with violence against a person invested with public authority.

, Man jailed for slapping President Macron in the face, Nzuchi Times
Image: The man was wearing glasses and a mask when he hit the president

In court, the defendant described himself as a right-wing or extreme “patriot” and a member of the yellow vest economic protest movement that shook Macron’s presidency in 2018 and 2019.

He told the court in the southeastern city of Valence that the attack was unplanned and impulsive and prompted by anger at France’s “decline”.

He was heard shouting a centuries-old royalist war cry as he struck the president.

More on Emmanuel Macron

“When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction,” Tarel told the court. “It was an impulsive reaction… I was surprised myself by the violence.”

While he said he and his friends had considered bringing an egg or a cream pie to throw at the president, he insisted they dropped the idea and the slap was not pre-meditated.

“I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” he said, without explaining what he meant.

, Man jailed for slapping President Macron in the face, Nzuchi Times
Image: Police officers leave the courtroom as the man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron is tried. Pic: AP

The slap brought attention to a range of ultra-right groups in France’s political landscape, which are considered increasingly dangerous despite their small following.

In a video of the incident, Mr Macron’s security entourage are seen quickly intervening and moving the leader away from his attacker.

Mr Macron was visiting the Drome region to meet restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, the president was in Cornwall to meet other world leaders for the G7 summit.

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