Man Who Slapped Emmanuel Macron Gets Four-Month Jail Sentence
Recall that Damien Tarel was arrested after the swipe that caught Macron’s left cheek with an audible thwack on Tuesday, as the French leader was greeting a crowd.
The court in the south-east city of Valence convicted Tarel on Thursday on a charge of violence against a person invested with public authority.
He was given four months in prison, an additional 14-month suspended sentence, banned from ever holding public office and from owning weapons for five years.
During his court session, Tarel acknowledged he had caught Macron with a “rather violent” swipe but testified that the attack was impulsive and unplanned.
He could be heard crying out “Montjoie! Saint Denis!” a centuries-old royalist war cry, before finishing with “A bas la Macronie,” or “Down with Macron,” and catching him with an audible thwack.
Macron’s bodyguards quickly pushed Tarel away, and he was immediately arrested.
After the incident, Tarel acknowledged hitting the president with a “rather violent” slap.
“When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction,” he told the court. “It was an impulsive reaction … I was surprised myself by the violence.”
He said he and his friends had considered bringing an egg or a cream pie to throw at the president, but had dropped the idea – and insisted that the slap wasn’t premeditated.
“I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” Tarel said, without explaining what he meant.
The charge of violence against a person invested with public authority is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of €45,000 ($54,000).
Macron wouldn’t comment on the trial on Thursday, but during inan interview with broadcaster BFM-TV said;
Nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, never. It’s not such a big deal to get a slap when you go toward a crowd to say hello to some people who were waiting for a long time. We must not make that stupid and violent act more important than it is.
At the same time, the president added;
We must not make it banal, because anyone 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 that 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 manifesto, Mein Kampf and two flags, one symbolising communists and another of Russian Revolution.