Macron to fire bodyguard caught on camera beating protester - Elysee

Lester Mason
July 22, 2018

Condemning the "unacceptable behaviour", Mr Macron's spokesman Bruno Roger-Petit said that Mr Benalla was removed from organising security for presidential trips.

After the 15-day suspension, Benalla was brought back into the president's immediate entourage.

A video published this week shows Alexandre Benalla manhandling and striking a demonstrator while wearing a police helmet, even though he is not an officer.

On Friday Benalla was also taken in for question by police over the incident.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C), flanked by security officer Alexandre Benalla (2ndR), visits the 55th International Agriculture Fair (Salon de l'Agriculture) at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, Feb. 24, 2018.

Benalla, who is not a policeman and previously worked as a private bodyguard, had been given permission to "observe police operations" in Paris during a day off on the May 1 public holiday, Macron's office said. Benalla, who hasn't commented on the matter, handled Macron's security during the presidential campaign.

Questions about whether Macron's cohorts are above the law were virulently raised in parliament on Thursday.

France has been gripped by the video of the May 1 event in Paris showing Benalla, in a helmet with police markings and surrounded by riot police, brutally dragging away a woman from a demonstration and then beating a young man on the ground.

Police stand in formation as they clash with protesters at a traditional May Day demonstration
Police stand in formation as they clash with protesters at a traditional May Day demonstration

The president's office said the decision to begin dismissal proceedings of Alexandre Benalla was taken after "new elements" were discovered in what is being described as the 38-year-old leader's first "scandal" since assuming power a year ago.

A judicial official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said authorities had launched a preliminary investigation that could lead to Mr Benalla being charged.

His punishment, a two-week suspension, has provoked criticism of Mr Macron. "This man is the eyes and ears of the prince (Macron)".

Benalla can be seen grabbing the young protester around the neck, hitting him on the head and stamping on him as he lays on the ground.

It was unclear why the young man under attack, who wasn't detained, was singled out by police before Benalla intervened.

Just days after the May 1 demonstrations, which were marred this year by anarchists who clashed with police, Macron had tweeted that "everything will be done so that those responsible will be identified and held accountable for their actions".

Benalla then turns his attention to a bearded Left-wing activist who has been apprehended by gendarmes.

French president-elect Emmanuel Macron waves at supporters as he arrives to deliver a speech in front of the Pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris on May 7, 2017, after winning the second round of the French presidential election.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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