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Macron Security Official Filmed in Police Helmet Beating Man

Macron Security Official Filmed in Police Helmet Beating Man

Thursday, 19 July, 2018 - 10:00
Alexandre Benalla, French presidential aide, is seen during the May Day labour union rally in Paris, France May 1, 2018. Picture taken May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Paris- Asharq Al Awsat
An aide to Emmanuel Macron was put on two-week leave after he was seen hitting a street protester in demonstrations in Paris in May, the French president’s spokesman said on Thursday.

His punishment — deemed too lenient by opposition leaders — has brought criticism down on Macron. Responding to public backlash, the president's spokesman said on Monday that the suspension without pay and change in responsibilities for Alexandre Benalla was the "most serious" ever given at the presidential palace.

Labor unions hold demonstrations every year on May Day in France, which often lead to police intervention.

A video, shared on social media, showed a man wearing a police helmet dragging off a woman then beating a young man on the ground with other policemen. He was later recognized as a member of the French presidency staff.

“The collaborator, Alexandre Benalla, had been given permission to witness the demonstrations only as an observer,” Bruno Roger-Petit said in a filmed statement.

“Clearly, he went beyond this ... he was immediately summoned by the president’s chief of staff and given a 15-day suspension. This comes as a punishment for unacceptable behavior,” he said.

In addition, a judicial official said the Paris prosecutor had launched a preliminary investigation for "violence by someone charged with a public service mission" among other things.

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