The man who slapped French President, Emmanuel Macron has been given four months jail term after he admitted to the crime.
Damien Tarel told the court it was an act of impulse, but the prosecutor said it was a “deliberate act of violence”. The court heard that Tarel, a medieval combat enthusiast subscribed to right-wing or far-right politics and was close to the yellow-vest movement.
President Macron said the attack should not be trivialised, but kept in proportion.
He had just left a hotel school in the south-eastern town of Tain-l’Hermitage when he ran towards a crowd waiting behind a metal barrier.
As he slapped the president, Tarel was heard shouting “Montjoie and Saint-Denis! Down with Macronism”, using an obscure medieval battle-cry. The incident was immediately condemned across France’s political spectrum.
Prosecutors had called for 18 months jail term. The three judges said Tarel should be given 18 months, with 14 months suspended. A second suspect who filmed the incident is facing prosecution for illegal possession of weapons after local authorities searched his home. He comes from the same town as Damien Tarel,
The defendant appeared in court in Valence wearing the same green T-shirt he wore on the day of his arrest. Asked why he had attacked the president, he replied that while waiting with his friends in the car he had considered doing something, like throwing an egg or cream cake, but insisted he had not considered slapping Mr. Macron.
“When I saw his friendly, lying look, which sought me out as a voter, I was filled with disgust,” he was reported as saying to the court. Condemning the president’s politics, he added that he felt he was part of the anti-establishment gilets jaunes (yellow-vests) movement, which staged anti-Macron protests during the early years of his presidency. “I acted instinctively,” he claimed.