Man who assaulted Macron sentenced to four months in prison
Damien T. will not be allowed to own weapons for the next five years and will never again hold any public service position
ParisTwo days after slapping French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to the south of the country, the perpetrator of the aggression, Damien T., is already spending the night in a penitentiary center. The courts in Valence (in the Auvergne-Roine-Alpes region, where the incident took place) have sentenced him to 18 months in prison. He will only have to serve four months, but after which he will be on probation for two years. He has ten days to appeal.
In addition, Damien T., who had no criminal record, has been sentenced to compulsory psychological treatment and will not be allowed to own guns for the next five years. He will also never be allowed to serve in the public service and is deprived of his civic rights, such as voting, for three years. The prosecution had also asked for 18 months in prison and has expressed concern that the defendant will act similarly in the future. "It is a very inadmissible violent act against the President of the Republic. There is clearly a desire to humiliate him, to demean him", said the prosecutor, who concluded: "We need a strong and significant penalty that protects the institutions".
In turn, the defense lawyer said that Damien T. is a "respectful activist" and denied that there was premeditation in the attack on Macron. "He is aware of the seriousness of the facts, we can be sure that he will not repeat them", the lawyer has responded to the Prosecutor's Office. In the same vein, the aggressor has explained that he saw the President of the Republic advancing towards him from afar and that he did not remember grabbing his arm. "When I saw his charming and lying face, with which he wanted to make me one of his supporters, I was filled with disgust", said Damien T., who has defined his aggression as "impulsive" and "with violent tendencies". He has also said that his words against Macron without the incident would have had less impact, in the same way as the complaints of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jacketed Protestors).
The other detainee, Arthur C., will be tried during the second half of 2022. He is a friend of the aggressor, and is of the same age, 28. He was the one who recorded the video that went viral. Arthur C. also has no criminal record, but after the incident with the President, the police searched his house and found a copy of Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf according to the BBC. A sword, a dagger and a collector's rifle were also reportedly found, although it is unclear whether the weapons were functional. It is certain that the two were fans of medieval weapons. Just before the slap, the assailant can be heard on the recording shouting "À bas la Macronie!" [Away with Macronism] and "Montjoie Saint Denis", a former battle cry of the armies of the kingdom of France that is now associated with far-right militants.
Macron eases the tension
Macron, who decided not to denounce his attacker and continued to greet the rest of the citizens who were waiting for him as if nothing had happened, has downplayed the reactions to the incident during an interview with the BFM channel and has branded the action as "imbecilic and violent". In fact, the French government reacted very quickly after the events and said it had simply been "an attempt" to slap him. "A democratic society is one that allows you to criticize, demonstrate and vote, and this is a treasure", added the French head of state, who still remarked that the slap "has to be relativized, but not trivialized". He continued saying that "any public officer deserves respect". His main rival for the presidential elections next spring, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National), has also considered that the attack is an isolated case and not the consequence of a heated political climate.