Police found a copy of Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf and guns at the home of one of the two men arrested after French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face.
A suspect, identified only as Arthur C, has been taken into custody on suspicion of having filmed the moment when another man, Damien Tarel, allegedly hit Macron on Tuesday.
The incident took place as the president waved to a crowd in Tain L’Hermitage, a town in south-eastern France, as he tried to reconnect with voters ahead of next year’s presidential election campaign.
Sources close to the investigation indicated that Tarel subscribed to far-right channels on YouTube.
On Wednesday, he remained under investigation in police custody and should be charged with assaulting a public figure, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of € 45,000 (nearly $ 55,000).
The book and the weapons were reportedly found at the home of the man suspected of filming the assault on Macron.
Among the weapons allegedly recovered from his home are a collector’s sword, dagger and rifle that were legally in his possession. It is not clear whether the weapons were in working order.
Macron was attacked after approaching a crowd of spectators during the visit, with his security guard intervening shortly after.
His spokesperson on Wednesday rejected information from the French media suggesting that the head of state had been warned by his security service not to approach them.
“It is clear that the President of the Republic will continue to have direct contact with the French people, just like the rest of the government,” said Gabriel Attal.
Macron’s spokesperson denied that his security service had warned him of the dangers of approaching crowds.
What do we know about the two suspects?
The first man, suspected of slapping the president, is said to be interested in a number of far-right and monarchist figures, as well as in the history of medieval France.
On his Instagram page, he describes himself as part of a historic European national martial arts federation, alongside photos of him wearing medieval costumes and carrying a long sword.
But according to a friend, Loïc Dauriac, he is “apolitical” and the slap was completely irrelevant.
The suspect is also heard shouting “Montjoie and Saint-Denis! Down with macronism ”.
Shortly before the incident, he stood alongside two other men in a TV interview, in which one of them said: “There are things you would like to say to [Mr Macron] but unfortunately you cannot … the decline of France. “
The homes of the two suspects were searched in a village north of Tain-l’Hermitage after Tuesday’s attack.
The second suspect is also believed to be a fan of medieval fencing.
jf / aw (AP, AFP)