The man who slapped France President Emmanuel Macron during a walkabout, has been identified as 28-year-old Damien Tarel, who has secret ties with extremist groups as he is reported to subscribe to several far-right YouTube channels.
A police report on Wednesday said though Tarel had no previous criminal record, it has been discovered that he has sympathy for extremist activities.
“The suspect remains under investigation in police custody and is expected to be charged with assaulting a public figure, which carries a maximum three-year prison term and a 45,000-euro (nearly $55,000) fine,” the report said.
Macron, who has been on a tour to take the pulse of the country after the pandemic and less than a year before the next presidential election, was struck in the face by the suspect on Tuesday, with a video of the incident going viral shortly after.
Tarel, dressed in a khaki T-shirt, could be seen slapping Macron, then shouting “Down with Macronia” and “Montjoie, Saint-Denis”, the battle cry of the French army when the country was a monarchy.
Reacting to the attack, Macron, in a short statement, said he had not feared for his safety, and continued shaking hands with members of the public after he was struck.
In an interview with the Dauphine Libere newspaper after being slapped, Macron called the incident an “isolated event” and one of “stupidity”.
“You cannot have violence, or hate, either in speech or actions. Otherwise, it’s democracy itself that is threatened,” he said.
By Isaac Dachen
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: Inside UNILAG’s multi-million naira budgetary abuse and academic discord
The University of Lagos located in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has been embroiled in controversies with allegations bothering on misappropriation of...
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...