A shocking incident involving French President Emmanuel Macron and a Frenchman was caught on camera. Just when the French leader was greeting people behind a fence during a visit to the Drome region in southeast France to discuss reopening of restaurants as the country eases out of lockdown measures, Macron was slapped by a man in the crowd. The video went viral on social media.
The Elysee Palace confirmed the authenticity of a video circulating online in which Macron can be seen approaching a line of people, preparing to shake hands, when one person behind the barrier reaches out and slaps him, the dpa news agency reported. Just as he slapped the French President, the attacker was heard to cry out "Montjoie! Saint Denis!" a centuries-old royalist war cry, before finishing with "A bas la Macronie," or "Down with Macron." The police arrested two people in connection to the incident.
Four months behind bars for slapping president
Tarel, a 28-year-old self-proclaimed right-wing "patriot" was presented before the court. The Frenchman was sentenced to four months in prison for his shocking actions. But testifying at the Thursday's trial, Tarel did not deny or show any remorse. According to AP, he showed no emotion as the court in the southeastern city of Valence convicted him while his girlfriend broke down in tears.
In addition to the jail time, Tarel also gets a 14-month suspended sentence and is banned from ever holding public office in France. Tarel is also not allowed to own weapons for five years.
Macron's slapper defends his action
At the trial, Tarel testified that the attack was an outburst of his anger and was unplanned. He claimed France's "decline" was the reason behind his anger, but did not explain what led him to believe that.
"I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country," he told the court. "When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction. It was an impulsive reaction... I was surprised myself by the violence."