The suspect identified as Damien Tarel, 28, slapped the French president during a passage, a moment that went viral on social media.
The man who had taken a slap in the face in the face of French President Emmanuel Macron has subscribed to several far-right YouTube channels and is a fan of the medieval swordsman, media reports and sources close to the investigation said on Wednesday. .
A police source has identified the suspect as 28-year-old Damien Tarel, who had no criminal record.
He is being held under investigation in police custody Wednesday and is expected to be charged with assault on a public figure, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (nearly $ 55,000).
Macron, who was on tour to take the pulse of the country after the pandemic and less than a year before the next presidential election, was hit Tuesday during a walk in southern France while greeting a small crowd of spectators.
Amateur videos of the assault are soon spreading on social media.
Tarel, dressed in a khaki T-shirt, can be seen slapping Macron while shouting “Down with Macronia” and “Montjoie, Saint-Denis,” the battle cry of the French army when the country was a monarchy.
A source close to the investigation described Tarel as someone who was “a little lost, a little geeky, a bit of a gamer.”
He has run a local club of martial arts enthusiasts focused on the practice of historical European martial arts, including the traditional sword.
Macron said he was not afraid for his safety, and continued to shake hands with members of the public after his blow.
In an interview with the Dauphine Libere newspaper after being slapped, Macron called the incident an “isolated event” and one of “stupidity.”
“You cannot have violence, or hatred, either in speech or in action. Otherwise, it is democracy itself that is threatened,” he said.
Macron was first targeted by disillusioned citizens.
In 2016, when he was economy minister, he was beaten to death by left-wing trade unionists over labor reforms and two years later was left speechless after being targeted by anti-government protesters. government.
A government spokesman said Wednesday that the French president will continue to greet people during his travels despite fears of security.
“Obviously his travels will continue: the president will remain in contact with the French public,” Gabriel Attal, a spokesman, said Wednesday.
“It would be completely incomprehensible for people to be deprived of contact with the president because of an isolated individual who wanted to challenge him (him),” Attal adds.