A Hitler fanatic who slapped the French president in an “impulsive reaction” after being “disgusted” by his “false face” has been jailed for four months.
Voter Damien Tarrell – who described himself as an ultra-right patriot – launched a violent and foul-mouthed attack on Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old was banned from ever holding public office in France and holding a weapon for five years over the swipe, which caught Macron’s left cheek with an audible poke.
In shocking footage of the explosion, the French leader – wearing a white shirt and a black face mask – can be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers in the village of Tan-l’Hermitage, who stood behind a metal barrier . .
The French president, dressed in a green T-shirt, extended his hand to greet Tarel – but he said “Down with the Macronia!” While screaming, grabbed her hand and slapped her in the face.
The crowd erupted when the 43-year-old’s security team pulled him away from the fence where he was greeting voters.
After the attack, spies swooped in and raided Tarel’s home, in which “weapons and a copy of Mein Kampf” were allegedly confiscated.
During Thursday’s trial, Tarrell, who is unemployed and on benefits with his disabled girlfriend, testified that the attack was impulsive and unplanned, and motivated by anger at France’s decline.
He sat up straight and showed no emotion as the court in the southeastern city of Valence indicted him on a charge of violence against a man invested with public authority.
He was sentenced to four months in prison and an additional 14 months suspended sentence after his girlfriend cried.
Tarrell, who slammed the centuries-old imperial war when the president was killed, described himself as a right-wing and member of the yellow vest economic protest movement that rocked Macron’s presidency in 2018 and 2019.
Prepared and calm, he firmly defended his actions and his views on Macron, without specifying what policies he wanted France to change.
Tarrell admitted to a violent slap on the president.
“When I saw his friendly, lying look, I was disgusted, and I had a violent reaction”, he told the court.
“It was an impulsive reaction. I found myself shocked by the violence.”
While he said he and his friends had considered bringing an egg or cream pie to throw at the president, he said he dropped the idea and insisted that the slap was not pre-planned.
“I think Emmanuel Macron represents the downfall of our country”, he said, without explaining what he meant.
According to the prosecutors’ office, Tarrell – described as a medieval history enthusiast – told investigators that he held true or ultra-right political beliefs without being a member of any party or group.
In its ruling, the court also ordered Tarrell to find a job or job training program, and banned him from carrying any weapons for five years.
Prosecutor Alex Perrin told the court that he was concerned that Tarrell might commit similar crimes again, adding that he had found “a kind of cold determination” in the defendant, and that “the art of martial arts, the Middle Ages and the world.” His relationship with the world was doubted. manga”.
Tarrell’s lawyer, Elodie Guillier, acknowledged that his client’s act was “particularly unfair”, but added that he was “just an ordinary person who never killed anyone” and who understood the gravity of his act.
Macron himself described the incident as an “isolated incident” and vowed to continue meeting voters despite concerns about his personal safety.
Asked again about it during an interview with BFM on Thursday, he called it a “stupid, violent act” and suggested it was a result of the toxic environment found on social media.
“You get used to the hate on social media which becomes normal,” he said.
“And then when you’re face-to-face with someone, you think it’s the same thing. It’s unacceptable.”
Another man arrested in the uproar after the slap, whom prosecutors identified as Arthur C, will be in court at a later date next year for illegal possession of weapons.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that in addition to finding weapons, police searching Arthur C’s home also found a copy of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf and two flags, one symbolizing the Communists and the other of the Russian Revolution.
Prosecutors said neither Tarrell nor 28-year-old Arthur C. had police records.
This is not the first time Mr Macron has been publicly attacked by angry mob members.
In 2016 – a year before he became president – Mr Macron was stoned with eggs by Communist Party members outside a post office in the Paris suburb of Montreal.