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World Man held over Macron slap was medieval swordsmanship fan

16:10  09 june  2021
16:10  09 june  2021 Source:   reuters.com

French leader Macron is slapped during visit to small town

  French leader Macron is slapped during visit to small town PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped Tuesday in the face by a man during a visit to a small town in southeast France. Macron’s office confirmed a video that is widely circulating online. The French president can be seen greeting the public waiting for him behind traffic barriers in the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage after he visited a high school that is training students to work in hotels and restaurants. The video shows aMacron’s office confirmed a video that is widely circulating online.

By Tangi Salaün and Caroline Pailliez

a group of people around each other: FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron is protected by a security member after getting slapped by a member of the public during a visit in Tain-L'Hermitage © Reuters/BFMTV/ReutersTV FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron is protected by a security member after getting slapped by a member of the public during a visit in Tain-L'Hermitage

PARIS (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 group of people standing in front of a crowd: FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with a member of the public before he was slapped during a visit in Tain-L'Hermitage © Reuters/BFMTV/ReutersTV FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with a member of the public before he was slapped during a visit in Tain-L'Hermitage

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.

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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.

Bystander slaps French President Emmanuel Macron

  Bystander slaps French President Emmanuel Macron A bystander slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face as he shook hands with crowd members in the Drome region of southeastern France. © Provided by Washington Examiner A man in a green T-shirt and face mask yelling, "Down with Macronia,” reached his hand to slap Macron’s face, video showed.FRENCH PRESIDENT MOCKS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FOR HYPOCRISY ABOUT TRUMPWATCH: President Emmanuel Macron receives a slap in the face while greeting people during an official visit in France. Two men have been arrested.What do you make of that?#talkRADIO pic.twitter.

Reuters was not able to identify Tarel's lawyer.

Tarel managed a local club focused on the practice of historical European martial arts, including traditional swordsmanship, and had founded a board game club called "The Knights of the Square Table".

Aurélien Laniece, a friend of Tarel, told Reuters he knew him as a decent person ready to help neighbours and who liked teaching his passion to others.

Laniece expressed surprise at reports in French media that Tarel's social media accounts showed he followed far-right and monarchist groups. Reuters could not corroborate this because Tarel's accounts had been made private.

"He's not the kind of guy to do that (hit someone)," Laniece said. "Lockdown was hard, but he was keen to work on the reopening."

Government officials have expressed concern in recent weeks about pent-up frustrations erupting after lockdown. France has been under a curfew for more than seven months.

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Macron said he had not feared for his safety, and continued shaking hands with members of the public after he was struck.

"You cannot have violence, or hate, either in speech or actions. Otherwise, it's democracy itself that is threatened," he told a local newspaper after the incident.

Macron has been targeted before by disenchanted citizens. He was pelted with eggs by trade unionists over labour reforms when he was economy minister in 2016. Two years later was left shaken after being heckled by anti-government protesters.

"We can disagree with what President Macron has done. We vote next year and there will be plenty of people voting against him, said Parisian Louis Bernard "but this electoral campaign cannot be based on violence."

(Reporting by Tangi Salaun and Caroline Pailliez; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough, Angus MacSwan and Giles Elgood)

Macron says Biden is 'part of the club' at the G7 in leaders' first formal meeting .
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron held their first formal in-person meeting on Saturday. © Phil Noble/Pool/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden and France's President Emmanuel Macron walk along the boardwalk during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England on June 11, 2021. The two leaders discussed a number of issues, ranging from global health security efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic across the globe, inequities stemming from globalization, the global tax rate and the transatlantic alliance, according to the White House.

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