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President Macron speaks to journalists on June 8. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP via Getty Images

The man who slapped French President Emmanuel Macron while he was shaking hands with members of the public Tuesday was sentenced to four months in prison on Thursday, Reuters reports.

The state of play: Damien Tarel, 28, was charged with assault of a public official and given a sentence of 18 months by the court, 14 of which were suspended, per Reuters.

  • During his trial, which had been fast-tracked, Tarel said that he believed Macron represented the "decline" of France but that his actions of Tuesday were impulsive and not premeditated.
  • "When I saw his friendly, lying look, I felt disgust, and I had a violent reaction,” he told the court, per AP. “It was an impulsive reaction."

The big picture: The incident, which was recorded on video, occurred during Macron's visit to the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage, in southern France.

  • In the video, a voice is heard shouting, “Montjoie! Saint Denis!” — a centuries-old royalist war cry — as well as “a bas la Macronie,” or “down with Macron," reports the AP.
  • Macron described the incident as an "isolated" one on Tuesday, adding that "stupidity and violence" have no place in a democracy, per AP.
  • "The incident took place in a tense and increasingly polarised political climate in France, weeks ahead of regional elections and less than a year before presidential polls," according to Agence France-Presse.

Why it matters: The attack has drawn renewed attention to the far-right in France.

  • Tarel is described to have an interest in "far-right and monarchist figures, as well as medieval French history," reports the BBC.
  • He told the court during his trial that he had supported France's anti-government "yellow vest" movement and told investigators that he held "right- or ultra-right political convictions," though he didn't belong to a particular political party, per AP.

Tarel was arrested alongside a second man who got caught up in the incident, identified only as Arthur C., reports AP.

  • This second man will have a trial in 2022 for illegal possession of weapons. When investigators searched his home, they found weapons, a copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf," and a communist flag, prosecutors said, per AP.

Go deeper

Sep 11, 2021 - World

France grants citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers

A nurse takes care of a patient infected with COVID in the intensive care unit of Lyon-Sud Hospital in Pierre-Bénite, France. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images

France granted citizenship to 12,000 COVID frontline workers this week in a show of gratitude for their efforts and sacrifices.

Why it matters: Immigrants comprise a quarter of the essential workers who remained active in the Île-de-France province during lockdowns, per data from a French health observatory.

Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas four Trump aides

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Jan 6. select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed four aides to former President Trump for testimony and documents.

Why it matters: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former communications official Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were all in touch "with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee said in a release.

U.S. friends in Latin America are turning to China

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The U.S. is losing Latin America to China without putting up a fight, Ecuador’s ambassador to Washington told Axios, laying bare her frustrations with early inattention from the Biden administration.

Why it matters: Ecuador isn't alone. China has deepened its engagement in the region, and it's now the top trading partner for many of the region's largest economies. That gives Beijing considerable leverage in a region historically dominated by the U.S., and makes Latin America a major frontier in the global competition for influence.