A 28-year-old man, with the name Damien Tarel, has been sentenced to a four-month jail term by a French court has after allegedly slapping France’s President in the face during a public visit.
Tarel was arrested after slapping the President in the face as the leader was greeting a crowd in the region on Tuesday, June 8.
Subsequently, Tarel admitted hitting the president with a rather “violent” slap. According to him, he said.
When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgusted, and I had a violent reaction,” he proceeded to tell the court that “It was an impulsive reaction … I was surprised myself by the violence.”
He said he and his friends had contemplated bringing an egg or a cream pie to throw at the president, but later dropped the idea – and insisted that the slap wasn’t premeditated.
“I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” he said, without explaining what he meant.
Tarel characterized himself as a right-wing or extreme-right “patriot” and member of the gilets Jaunes economic protest movement.
The President wouldn’t comment Thursday on the trial, but urged that “nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, never.”
In an interview with BMF-TV, the President noted;
“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, therefore, we must not make that stupid and violent act more important than it is.”
the president also added, “We must not make it banal, because anyone with public authority is entitled to respect.”
The court in the southeast city of Valence convicted Tarel on Thursday, June 10, on a charge of violence against a person invested with public authority.
He was given a four months jail term with an additional 14-month suspended sentence, he was also banned from ever holding public office and from possessing weapons for five years.
Another man with the name Arthur C was also arrested following the incident for allegedly possessing a weapon, according to the prosecutor, he will be judged at a later date in 2022.
The prosecutor’s office further stated that aside from the weapons recovered from the man, police who searched his home also found books on the art of war.
A copy of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf and two flags, one symbolizing communists and another of the Russian Revolution.