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Macron aide who struck protester to be fired


In this file picture taken on March 1, 2017 French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron (C), flanked by head of security Alexandre Benalla (R) shakes hands as he visits Paris’ international agriculture fair, in Paris. French prosecutors said on July 19, 2018 that they had opened a probe into an alleged assault by a senior security officer working for President Emmanuel Macron who was identified in a video hitting a protestor. Alexandre Benalla, who was head of security during Macron’s campaign last year and transferred to the presidential staff afterwards, is seen wearing a police visor during a demonstration on May 1 in the video published by Le Monde newspaper. / AFP PHOTO / Lionel BONAVENTURE

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron told AFP on Friday that it has begun dismissal proceedings against a top security aide who violently struck a protester during a demonstration in Paris in May.

A video published this week shows Alexandre Benalla manhandling and striking a demonstrator while wearing a police helmet, even though he is not an officer.

Paris prosecutors also said Benalla has been detained for questioning in the assault inquiry, where he also faces charges of impersonating a police officer.


Macron’s office said the decision to fire Benalla was taken after “new elements” emerged in the case, which has become the most damaging scandal facing the centrist president since his election last year.

A source close to the inquiry said three police officers have also been suspended on suspicion they provided Benalla with surveillance footage of the May 1 demonstration in an attempt to prove his innocence.

“He is suspected of receiving material from the police he was not authorised to have,” the Elysee said.

Lawmakers have also launched a commission of inquiry as a second video of the incident emerged, in which Benalla is also seen violently wrestling a young woman to the ground.

Benalla was punished with a two-week suspension without pay in May and later transferred to another post, but the incident was not reported to prosecutors.

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