The man, who was caught in a video slapping French President Emmanuel Macron in the face earlier this week, was sentenced to four months in prison.
In an emergency, 28-year-old Damien Tarrell was found guilty of violence against a public investor following an incident in the wine-producing town of Tyne-l’Hermitage on Tuesday. Macron held meetings and congratulations with the public, and Tarrell was quickly arrested after the strike.
“When I saw his friendly, false look, I felt disgusted and had a violent reaction,” Tarrell told the court, according to the Associated Press. “It was an impulsive reaction … I myself was surprised by the violence.”
THE MAN PAYS A MACRON ON THE FACE, VIDEO SHOW
While Tarel said he and his friends were considering bringing an egg or cream pie to throw at the president, he said they had rejected the idea – and insisted the slap was not intentional.
“I think Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” Tarrell added, without explaining.
During the incident, Tarrell was heard shouting “Montjoa! Saint Denis!” a centuries-old cry of royalist wars before ending with “A bas la Macronie” or “Down with Macron”.
A court in the southeastern city of Valens on Thursday sentenced Tarrell to four months in prison and an additional 14 months probation, while banning him from holding public office and possessing weapons for five years.
Tarrell told the court he supported the yellow vest economic protest movement that rocked Macron’s presidency in 2019. He told investigators he had correct or far-right political beliefs without being a member of a party or group, according to prosecutors.
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Macron will not comment on Thursday’s trial, but insisted that “nothing justifies violence in a democratic society, ever.”
“It’s not such a big deal to get slapped when you go to the crowd to greet some people who have been waiting for a long time,” he said in an interview with BFM-TV. “We must not make this stupid and violent act more important than him.”
At the same time, the president added, “we should not make it banal, because everyone who has public authority has the right to respect it.”
Another man arrested as a result of the slap, identified by the prosecutor as Arthur S., will be convicted later, in 2022, of illegal possession of a weapon.
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Prosecutors said that in addition to finding weapons, police who searched Arthur S.’s home also found martial arts books, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” manifesto and two flags, one symbolizing the Communists and the other the Russian revolution.
Neither Tarel nor Arthur S., also 28, had police records, the prosecutor said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.