Man who slapped Macron sentenced to four months in prison

28-year-old Damien Tarel also banned from ever holding public office in France and from owning weapons for five years.

Ben Ariel ,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Reuters

28-year-old Frenchman Damien Tarel was sentenced to four months in prison on Thursday for slapping President Emmanuel Macron in the face, The Associated Press reports.

Tarel was also banned from ever holding public office in France and from owning weapons for five years.

During Thursday's trial, Tarel testified that the attack was impulsive and unplanned, and prompted by anger at France's "decline."

He sat straight and showed no emotion as the court in the southeastern city of Valence convicted him on a charge of violence against a person invested with public authority.

He was sentenced to four months in prison and handed an additional 14-month suspended sentence.

Tarel, who shouted a centuries-old royalist war cry as he hit the president, described himself as a right-wing or extreme-right "patriot" and member of the yellow vest economic protest movement that shook Macron's presidency in 2018 and 2019.

Tarel acknowledged hitting the president with a "rather violent" slap. "When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction," he told the court. "It was an impulsive reaction... I was surprised myself by the violence."

"I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country," he said, without explaining what he meant.

Macron wouldn't comment Thursday on the trial, but insisted that "nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, ever."



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