France: Man Who Slapped French President Macron Jailed For 4 Months
Damien Tarel attacked Emmanuel Macron when he was shaking hands with members of the public during a walkabout in France’s Drome region.
A French court on the Thursday sentenced a man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face this week to a prison term of 18 months and 14 of which were suspended too. Damien Tarel, a 28 year old medieval history enthusiast, has been in custody since the assault on Tuesday, which a prosecutor also called
absolutely unacceptable and also an act of deliberate violence. Damien Tarel also attacked Macron when the French president was shaking hands with members of the public during a walkabout in France’s Drome region. Tarel said that several days ahead of Macron’s visit to the region, he had thought about throwing an egg or a
cream tart at the president, but added the slap was not premeditated. I think that Macron represents very neatly the decay of our country, he told the court, according to BFM TV. If I had challenged Macron to a duel at sunrise, I doubt he would have responded. Tarel faced a charge of assault against a public official, an offence that also carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a 45,000-euro ($54,750) fine.
Macron has shrugged off assault, calling it an isolated event, and he has promised to continue meeting voters despite concerns for his personal security. Asked about it again during an interview on Thursday with BFM TV, he called it a stupid, violent act and suggested it was a consequence of the poisonous atmosphere found on
social media. You also get used to the hatred on social media that becomes normalised too, he said. And then when you’re face-to-face with someone, you think it’s the same thing. That’s unacceptable. Leaders across the political spectrum have united in condemning the slap, with many seeing it as a symptom of the fraught
political climate and also declining standards of public debate just weeks from the regional elections and then ten months from presidential polls. The political climate is turning to vinegar and it’s also highly very dangerous what is happening, the senior leftist MP and Regional election candidate Clementine Autain told France Info.
Others also saw the assault as a sign of how Macron, a reformist former investment banker continues to inspire visceral rejection from many French people and also his presidency was rocked by the anti-government yellow vest protests in 2018-2019, which were driven in part by anger at his economic reforms as well as his abrasive
personality. Macron, 43, whose personal ratings have risen recently, is expected to seek a second term next year and Polls show him holding a narrow lead over his main rival, far-right leader Marine Le Pen.