Damien Tarel, the 28-year-old man who slapped President Emmanuel Macron in the street on Tuesday, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after an express trial that lasted a few hours. Tarel, who lacked a judicial record, entered prison, where he will spend four months. The remainder of the sentence will be served on probation. For three years, he will lose his civic rights and will not be able to hold a public function for the rest of his life.
Tarel's attack on Macron, while he was greeting a group of citizens in southwestern France, provoked unanimous condemnation from the political class. And it fueled the debate on the alleged growing violence in French society and the climate of hatred in the political debate. This is not the first attack on a president in recent times: Nicolas Sarkozy suffered a similar attack in 2011 and in 2002 Jacques Chirac was unsuccessfully shot by a far-rightist during the July 14 parade.
Tarel, slapping Macron in the face, chanted a monarchical slogan: "Montjoie Saint Denis." The man, a resident of the region, was fond of medieval martial arts. In his hearing before the judge, he declared himself close to the yellow vests, the movement that in 2018 and 2019 tried to put Macron in check with protests, sometimes violent.
He also said he felt close to right or far right movements, although he was not a member of any party. He claimed that he had acted without reflection, guided by his rejection of the President of the Republic Macron.
Along with him, the police arrested an alleged accomplice, Arthur Champion, who will be brought to justice in 2022. Investigators found a copy of 28-year-old Champion at his home. Mein kampf, Adolf Hitler's book, and a hammer and sickle flag, according to the newspaper Le Parisien.
In an interview with the BFMTV / RMC network, Macron commented: “It is not serious to receive a slap when you approach the crowd, it can happen at any time. I think it reveals nothing more profound than a single isolated act ”. And he added: "The real violence is that suffered by women who die under the blows of their husbands."