The man who slapped Emmanuel Macron across the face yesterday is a 28-year-old medieval enthusiast who role plays in plate armour with long swords and lives with his mother, police have revealed.
Named only as Damien T., the long-haired bespectacled man was bundled to the ground by bodyguards after striking the president and crying out: ‘Montjoie Saint Denis,’ an old royalist war cry, ‘A Bas La Macronie’ (‘Down with Macronia’).
The grievous security breach has overshadowed the start of a Macron’s ‘Tour de France,’ intended to gauge public opinion after a year of lockdowns, and drew condemnation from across the political spectrum.
Police searched Damien’s home where they uncovered weapons, a Soviet flag, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, fantasy novels, Japanese comics and simulation games.
In the immediate aftermath a police source had claimed Damien was ‘anarchist,’ but detectives are now working on the basis he subscribes to a sort of ‘ideological mush,’ Le Parisien newspaper reported.
Named only as Damien T., the assailant is a medieval enthusiast whose social media reveals him wearing clothing of the era and participating in re-enactments
French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.
His Instagram account shows him donning armour and wielding swords, posing on hay bales in robes and a velvet beret, and wearing a helmet used in the Japanese martial art of Kendo.
A source told Le Parisien he lives ‘in a kind of parallel world made of role-playing games, simulations of medieval fights.’
He was detained with his friend, Arthur C. who is the same age, and who is accused of shouting abuse at Macron.
The pair travelled from their home town Saint-Vallier to the village of Tain-l’Hermitage, about 10 miles south along the Rhone, where Macron was greeting voters.
They had been attending a Yellow Vest protest which took place in the nearby town of Valence at around midday, according to L’Obs magazine.
At some point in the day the pair, along with another friend who has not been arrested, were chatted to by a journalist who asked them what they thought of the president being in town.
Damien T. is seen standing next to the man in the video who tells the reporter he is an ‘anarchist’ and references the ‘decline of France.’
He adds that he cannot say anything more, claiming that the media often misconstrues such views.
At around 1.15pm on Tuesday, Damien T was seen standing at barriers outside the Tain-l’Hermitage culinary school which Macron had been visiting.
Macron came over to greet him and he appeared to be stopping the president for a chat, taking hold of his arm before lashing out with a slap, shouting: ‘Down with Macronia’ (‘A Bas La Macronie’).
Damien T in a suit of plate armour carries a shield at a re-enactment
Damien T. hugging a tree in a post from Instagram. A source told Le Parisien he lives ‘in a kind of parallel world made of role-playing games, simulations of medieval fights.’
Detectives are now working on the basis he subscribes to a sort of ‘ideological mush,’ Le Parisien newspaper reported
Bodyguards quickly seized upon the assailant and bundled him to the ground before dragging him away, as Macron was pulled to safety by a member of the security detail.
A few seconds later, Macron returned to the barriers to get a word in, although it was unclear what he was saying. He then continued to shake people’s hands while a bodyguard stood between him and the crowd.
Sources claim Damien T. and Arthur C. are ‘marginal’ members of their local community, ‘without jobs.’
Damien T. follows both right-wing and and left-wing YouTube channels, among others which are focused on Japanese Manga comic books and historical combat.
One of the channels he follows is called Media for All and is hosted by Vincent Lapierre, who rose to prominence with his coverage of the Yellow Vest protests in 2018 – which he openly supported.
Two people were arrested following the incident in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region where Macron had been meeting restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid restrictions were eased
Another YouTuber followed by Damien is Papicito, a 35-year-old fan of comics who has trenchant positions against immigration and released a controversial video earlier this year of him shooting a ‘liberal’ before repeatedly stabbing him. It has since been removed by YouTube.
Damien T. and Arthur C. may be detained for up to 48 hours before an appearance at the court in Valence.
They have been charged with ‘wilful violence against a person holding public authority.’
If convicted, the attacker faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (£38,000).