???????? ALERTA VIOLENCES POLICIÈRES— Taha Bouhafs?? (@T_Bouhafs) May 1, 2018
DES POLICIERS TABASSENT ET GAZENT TOUT LE MONDE PLACE CONTREESCARPE !!
FAITES TOURNER IL FAUT QUE TOUT LE MONDE VOIT !!#ViolencesPolicieres #1erMai pic.twitter.com/Dabr6HHwyJ
French President Emmanuel Macron’s senior security adviser was caught on camera beating up a protester during anti-government protests in Paris, France.
Alexandre Benalla, an assistant to Macron’s chief of staff, can be seen wearing a police visor, hitting and stamping protesters during the demonstration that took place on May 01. The aide was recently identified by French newspaper Le Monde.
The video was reportedly recorded during the May Day protests when around one hundred protesters gathered at Place de la Contrescarpe in the French capital.
In the video, a man, who is not wearing a police uniform, can be seen holding a woman by her neck and dragging her down the street. Riot police officers in the camera can be seen beating up another protester man. That is when the man reappears and begins hitting the protester vigorously.
The man who was wearing a helmet and was recorded hitting protesters was recently identified as Benalla by the French newspaper.
The security aide is responsible for setting up Macron’s security at his official events. He was also the head of security during the French president’s election campaign.
Although he was part of the Elysee staff, he was not authorized to wear a police helmet.
According to a presidential spokesman, Benalla was allowed to attend the demonstration as an observer because it was his day off. The spokesman added the aide was suspended for two weeks without pay and that he had been demoted and was now not responsible for arranging Macron’s safety during his engagements.
“Alexandre Benalla had warned me two days earlier [before the demonstration] that he wanted to take part in an operation with the police to see how a large demonstration was handled. He asked me for permission, I gave it to him, but making it clear that he was an observer. The day after the demonstration, I was informed by a colleague that Mr Benalla had been recognized in the field as being involved in law enforcement operations, and I saw the videos. I summoned the same day, I asked him if it was him,” said Elysée palace spokesman Bruno Roger-Petit.
However, Benalla reportedly made security arrangements for two of Macron’s key events this month.
France’s public prosecutor has now opened a preliminary inquiry into the incident. Benalla could now face charges that include violence by a public official, pretending to be a policeman and the illegal use of police insignia.
This incident has left Macron in the middle of a political scandal. His critics are now accusing him of attempting to cover up the attacks because despite knowing the aide was part illegally part of beating up protesters the entire matter was hushed up by the government.
“I hope that prosecutors have already initiated criminal proceedings against Alexandre Benalla, head of security of Emmanuel Macron. In addition to violence, it is question of usurpation,” said Paris barrister Raquel Garrido.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Philippe Wojazer