Aide to French President Emmanuel Macron suspended after beating protester

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A senior aide to French President Emmanuel Macron has been suspended after he was filmed hitting and stamping on a protester.

Video footage of the May Day demonstration in Paris showed Alexandre Benalla dragging a female protester with his right arm around her neck.

He was later seen attempting to do the same with a male protester who resisted – and the presidential aide was seen striking his head and stamping on the man as he fell to the ground and pleaded with him to stop.

Alexandre Benalla during the Paris protests. Pic: Taha Bouhafs  Aide to French President Emmanuel Macron suspended after beating protester skynews alexandre benalla macron security 4365992
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Alexandre Benalla pictured during the Paris protests on 1 May. Pic: Taha Bouhafs

The security adviser was wearing a police helmet at the time and had been given permission to attend the protest as an observer.

Mr Macron’s spokesman Bruno Roger-Petit has condemned what he described as “unacceptable behaviour”.

He said the aide had been suspended for 15 days without pay and his responsibilities for organising security for presidential trips taken away from him.

He said the punishment was the “most serious” ever given to a top security official at the presidential Elysee Palace and served as a “last warning before dismissal”.

But Mr Macron’s opponents said the action was lenient and had come too late – more than two months after the 1 May event.

Alexandre Benalla dragging a female protester. Pic: Taha Bouhafs  Aide to French President Emmanuel Macron suspended after beating protester skynews alexandre benalla macron security 4365990
Image:
Alexandre Benalla dragged a female protester. Pic: Taha Bouhafs

“This video is shocking. Today we have the feeling that in Macron’s entourage one is above the law,” Laurent Wauquiez, president of the conservative Republicains, told Europe 1 radio.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said: “If we accept that anybody can be a policeman alongside the police then we no longer have the rule of law. This man is the eyes and ears of the prince (Macron).”

A judicial official said a preliminary investigation had been opened for “violence by someone charged with a public service mission” among other things.

Mr Macron refused to answer questions from reporters on the issue during a trip to southwestern France following the release of the footage by Le Monde newspaper.



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