- Damien Tarel was arrested after the outrageous incident that occurred on Tuesday, June 8, when he slapped French President Emmanuel while on a tour of his country
- Family and friends said the 28-year-old man is someone who does not have a violent temperament normally
- Detectives discovered Tarel is a martial art enthusiast who founded and runs two associations in his home town
A man who was caught on camera slapping French president Emmanuel Macron has been identified.
A 28-year-old Damien Tarel was arrested after the outrageous incident that occurred on Tuesday, June 8, when the president was on a tour of his country.
According to Explica, Tarel, whose family and friends described him as warm and someone who does not have a violent temperament, could face a jail term of up to three years and a R750k fine.
“If someone had told me ‘Damien is capable of slapping the president,’ I would have said no,” he says.
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Acquaintances in his hometown of Saint-Vallier in southeastern France described a man who loved period role-play and does not cause trouble.
When he was picked for questioning, the detectives discovered Tarel is a martial art enthusiast who founded and runs two associations in his home town.
Tarel ran a local martial arts club that also offers other traditional European swordsmanship and manages a board game club called The Knights of the Square Table.
In the now-viral clip, the president, who was all smiles and could be seen happily walking towards the crowd that was behind a metal barrier.
Macron reached out his hand to greet the man, who was draped in a green t-shirt, sunglasses and a face mask, but the civilian could not let go of the president's hand.
The man could be heard shouting, "Down with Macronia," ("A Bas La Macronie,") before delivering a slap to Macron's face. Two of Macron's security detail tackled the man, while another whisked France's first-in-command to safety.
Macron, however, remained near the crowd for a few more seconds, appearing to be talking to someone on the other side of the barriers before leaving. The incident took place while Macron visited the Drome region in south-eastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students.
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