Man held over Macron slap was medieval swordsmanship fan

  • 4 months   ago
Man held over Macron slap was medieval swordsmanship fan

REUTERS

The man alleged to have slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face ran a club for enthusiasts of medieval swordsmanship and had no previous criminal record, two sources familiar with the investigation said on Wednesday.

A police source identified the suspect as 28-year-old Damien Tarel. Acquaintances in his hometown of Saint-Vallier, in southeastern France, described a man who loved period role-play and did not cause trouble.

Tarel is under investigation for assault against a public official, the local prosecutor said.

Macron, who was on a trip to take the country's pulse after the pandemic and with less than a year to go before the next presidential election, was hit on Tuesday during a walkabout in southern France as he greeted a small crowd of onlookers.

The president reached out to greet a man, who shouted "Down with Macronia" and "Montjoie Saint Denis", the battle cry of the French army when the country was a monarchy, and slapped Macron across the cheek.

 

A source close to the investigation described Tarel as someone who was "a bit lost, a bit geeky, a bit of a gamer".

Tarel and a second man were still in police custody on Wednesday, the source added. The charge of assault against a public official carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a 45,000 euro fine.

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