Video emerges of Macron security chief beating protester

A former senior security aide of Emmanuel Macron was charged last night (Sunday) with assaulting protesters in an incident that has thrown the presidency into turmoil.

Macron, who assumed office previous year, came under fire after French newspaper Le Monde revealed that his office had learned of the incident three months ago but failed to inform authorities.

Alexandre Benalla, long a fixture at Macron's side, was placed under investigation on Sunday in a case that has sparked a political storm.

Benalla, who was wearing a police helmet with visor as well as a police armband, was additionally charged with impersonating a police officer, as well as complicity in the unauthorised use of surveillance footage.

Le Monde newspaper released a video last week showing Benalla at the 1 May protests in Paris wearing a riot helmet and police tags while off duty. A source close to the inquiry said that three police officers had also been suspended on suspicion of providing Mr Benalla with surveillance footage of the demonstration in an attempt to prove his innocence, Le Monde reports.

Vincent Crase, a security aide for Macron's Republic on the Move party and an associate of Benalla's who also intervened during the May protest, was also taken into custody on Friday.

The Paris prosecutor's office said it has asked for Benalla and Crase to be prohibited from possessing weapons or working in any public function.

Before he joined the presidential staff he had the role of head of security during Mr Macron's election campaign in 2017.

French President Emmanuel Macron walks ahead of his aide Alexandre Benalla at the end of the Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2018.

Collomb said he did not know who invited Benalla to observe the May 1 demonstrations, which were marred this year by clashes between police and 200 violent demonstrators who smashed shop windows.

Lawmakers were aghast to learn that Benalla initially received only a two-week suspension and still had an office in the presidential palace 2 1/2 months after the beating.

A day later he was forced to cancel his wedding in Paris as he was being interrogated by...

Macron brushes off journalists' questions about the scandal during a visit to southern France, even as opposition parties paralyse proceedings in the National Assembly by holding crisis meetings and demanding explanations.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb will be questioned today on whether he was aware of Macron bodyguard Alexandre Benalla's violence against protestors.

Several opposition lawmakers, from different parties, have demanded that the matter be addressed, but the government has, so far, remained silent on the incident.

  • Rogelio Becker