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In France, Swift Justice for Macron Slap

Jailed man said he 'acted instinctively'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2021 11:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – The man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face on Tuesday will spend the next four months behind bars. A court in Valence Thursday sentenced 28-year-old Damien Tarel to 18 months in jail for assaulting a public official, with 14 months suspended, per Reuters. Tarel—an unemployed medieval martial arts enthusiast, per the Guardian—told the court he held right-wing views and sympathized with the yellow-vest movement, which held anti-Macron protests in the early days of his presidency. Tarel said he'd debated throwing an egg or cream tart at the president, who he says represents "the decay of our country," but hadn't planned to slap him.

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"When I saw his friendly, lying look, which sought me out as a voter, I was filled with disgust," he said, per the BBC. "I acted instinctively." Macron declined to take legal action himself, saying it was "an isolated act." But his allies and rivals alike were right to condemn the violence, according to Olivier Knox at the Washington Post. France showed "that a Western nation's famously fractious political class, sharply divided on virtually every major issue the country faces, can still unite in unequivocal condemnation of an act of political violence," he writes. He suggests the US could learn a lesson from that. The second man arrested alongside Tarel will not face charges related to the slapping, which he apparently filmed. (Read more Emmanuel Macron stories.)

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