Damien Tarel, the man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron while he was greeting a crowd in southeast France has been sentenced to four months in prison.
The 28-year-old was convicted on a charge of violence against a person invested with public authority. He was given an additional 14-month suspended sentence and was banned from ever holding public office and from owning weapons for five years.
According to the Guardian, Tarel describes himself as a right-wing or extreme-right “patriot” and member of the gilets jaunes economic protest movement. He insists the slap wasn’t premeditated.
“When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction,” he told the court. “It was an impulsive reaction … I was surprised myself by the violence,” he said.
He told the court that he and his friends considered bringing an egg or a cream pie to throw at the president, but had dropped the idea.
“I think that Emmanuel Macron represents the decline of our country,” he added, without explaining what he meant.
The charge of violence against a person invested with public authority is punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of €45,000 ($54,000).