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Scandal surrounds Macron security aide

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Scandal surrounds Macron security aide

Scandal surrounds Macron security aide
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French President Emmanuel Macron was strongly criticised after his office suspended one of his aides, Alexandre Benalla, who was caught on camera striking a May Day protester but did not inform law enforcement authorities.

Critics say the incident reinforces the image of Macron as a man out of touch with the French people.

A video from a May Day rally, released by Le Monde newspaper showed a man wearing a police helmet and identification tag dragging a woman away and then striking a demonstrator.

He was later recognised as a member of the French presidential security staff.

A spokesman for Macron, Bruno Roger-Petit, admitted Benalla — who was given permission to witness the demonstration only as an observer — had clearly exceeded his duties and was given a 15-day suspension. However, the incident was not reported to authorities.

"This sanction is meant to punish unacceptable behaviour," he said. "He also was told that it was a last warning before termination (of his working contract). This sanction is the most severe ever pronounced against an Elysée aide."

Opposition parties say the punishment is too lenient.

After the suspension, Benalla was brought back into the president's immediate entourage. He helped organise the festivities surrounding the return home of France's World Cup champion soccer team and appears in multiple photos beside Macron.