A 28-year-old man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron will be tried on Thursday, facing possible jail time and a fine if found guilty of assaulting a public official. He will be brought up for immediate trial on Thursday, authorities said.
The man, identified as Damien T., 28, has admitted during hearings "hitting the head of state and pronouncing words denouncing politics," public prosecutor Alex Perrin said in a statement. Footage circulating on social media showed the incident in Tain-l'Hermitage, around 90 kilometres south of Lyon.
Macron, who was on a visit to a Drôme hospitality school, was struck on Tuesday in the face while shaking hands with a member of the public. The attacker was heard to cry out "Montjoie! Saint-Denis!" a centuries-old royalist war cry, before finishing with “A bas la Macronie," or "Down with Macron."
The incident has sparked indignation throughout the country. Speaking at the National Assembly, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said: "Through the head of state, that’s democracy that has been targeted." The comments prompted loud applauds from lawmakers from all political parties.
Damien Tarel was quickly arrested after the swipe on Tuesday that caught Macron in the face with an audible thwack as the French leader was greeting a crowd in southeast France.The charge of violence against a person invested with public authority is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of USD54,000.