The man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron claims it was a ‘unplanned’ incident.
In court on Thursday, the man accused of slapping French President Emmanuel Macron said the act was unplanned.
“I felt disgusted and had a visceral reaction when I saw his friendly, deceptive look,” Damien Tarel told the court. “It was a spur-of-the-moment reaction…. I was taken aback by the violence.”
After hitting Macron on Tuesday, Tarel was swiftly apprehended. He could face jail time and a fine if proven guilty of assaulting a public employee. While he claims the slap was unintentional, he confessed that bringing an egg or cream pie to hurl at the president was an option.
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Tarel said in court that he backed the yellow vest economic protests that rocked Macron’s leadership in 2019. According to the prosecutor’s office, he told investigators that he harbored right- or ultra-right political convictions without being a member of any party or group.
The charge of violence against a public official carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros ($54,000).
Macron would not comment on the trial on Thursday, but he did say that “nothing, never, ever justifies violence in a democratic society.”
“Getting slapped when you go forward a crowd to say hello to those folks who have been waiting for a long time isn’t such a huge deal,” he stated in an interview with broadcaster BFM-TV. “We must not exaggerate the significance of that rash and aggressive act.”
“We must not make it banal,” the president stressed, “because everyone with public authority is entitled to respect.”
Another man arrested in the ruckus that followed the slap, identified by the prosecutor as Arthur C., will be judged at a later date, in 2022, for illegal possession of weapons.
The prosecutor’s office said as well as finding weapons, police who searched the home of Arthur C. also found books on the art of war, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf and two flags, one symbolizing Communists and another of the Russian revolution.
Neither Tarel nor Arthur C., also 28, had police records, the prosecutor said.
Videos showed Macron’s attacker slapping the French leader’s left cheek and his bodyguards pushing the man away during a. This is a brief summary.