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Video: Medieval martial arts specialist goes viral for slapping French President Emmanuel Macron

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Emmanuel Macron was surprised with a slap to the face and a 17th century battle cry during a recent walkabout in Southern France.

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French President Emmanuel Macron was in the south of the country last week attempting to take the pulse of the country after a long and difficult period battling the coronavirus pandemic. In the town of Saint-Vallier Macron approached a small crowd to greet them, but was met with a slap.

Watch the clip below to see the slap and how Macron’s security detail swarm on the alleged slapper:

According to Reuters Damien Tarel, 28, was arrested on suspicion of slapping Macron. That outlet also reported that Tarel was heard saying “Down with Macronia” and “Montjoie Saint Denis”. The second phrase is the battle cry that was used by the French army when the country was still a monarchy. France’s monarchy was disposed by the French Revolution in 1799.

Tarel, it turns out, is the leader of a local club focused on historical re-enactments and medieval European martial arts, specifically sword-fighting. Friends of Tarel described him as a man who “loved period role-play and did not cause trouble.”

Another source described Tarel as “a bit lost, a bit geeky, a bit of a gamer.”

Aurelian Laniece, a friend of Tarel, was surprised by this incident. “He’s not the kind of guy to do that (hit someone),” he said. “Lockdown was hard, but he was keen to work on the reopening.”

Tarel is now under investigation for assault against a public official. The maximum punishment for this charge is three years in jail and a 45,000 euro fine.

This isn’t the first time Macron has been targeted by citizens. In 2016 he was pelted by eggs by trade unionists over labour reforms.