PARIS – The movie is striking.
On the same scenic Paris square as the author Ernest Hemingway once called home, a protest broke out during France's annual May Day vacation. This part is at least no surprise: May 1 is International Workers Day, which is typically marked by massive jobs that can put the city still. This was especially the case this year in the midst of President Emmanuel Macron's difficult market reforms.
But what a surprise is the degree of violence shown by a man in particular – and who exactly this man turned out to be.
Video films published by the French newspaper Le Monde notifies anyone other than one of Macron's security staff, Alexandre Benalla, who draws a woman in the neck from a protest where the national police officers have already started a small group. After a while, Benalla looks back at the camera, this time to attack a young man whose police had already taken a lot.
The scandal's root is this: Benalla is not a police officer; He was just wearing one, with the kind of visor they were wearing. According to Le Monde, he had taken a free day and had asked to "observe" police activities during the protests on May. As the video shows, the police did not intervene to stop Benalla.
Interviewed Thursday on French television, police officials could not explain why. "An observer does not seem so," said Philippe Capon, a spokesman for a major police association, who talked about BFM TV.
But the context, Capon said he could have presented Benalla with an opportunity to abuse his position. "He was an observer from Elysee," said Capon. "When police officers hear the word" Elysee "there is a certain anxiety."
Benalla was only given a two-week suspension as a penalty immediately prompted political opposition leaders, as well as claims about a coverup. On Thursday Macron stayed unusually silent on what French media already dubbed the "Benalla affair" when the reporters questioned him during a visit to the Dordogne in central France.
Bruno Roger-Petit, a spokesman for the Elysee Palace, told the French media Thursday that Benalla's punishment was the "most serious" ever given a presidential helper.
But public reputation once multiplied France's BFM TV network reported Thursday that Benalla had participated in security services at the Pantheon's funeral of Holocaust survivor and noted feminist Simone Veil, as well as in the security operation of the French national football team's victory-earlier this week.
Prospective members of Macron's government fought to explain the situation, especially when pressed on the issue of a possible legal double standard applied to an administrative official.
At the start of Thursday, the French prosecutor opened an investigation into the Benalla case, an investigation that could ultimately lead to accusations against him, as well as further embarrassment against the Elysee Palace.
Macron's critics took advantage of the opportunity to do exactly that, most of the time to call out the staff of a president, often called "Jupiterian", "out of touch" or "the rich president." Earlier this summer, Macron was broken to publicly bark a sardonic high school student who picked him up with a nickname.
"When you're on Elysee, you have to put an example," says Laurent Wauquiez, leader of Les Républicains, France's Conservative Party, who talks on France's Europe 1 radio on Thursday. Wauquiez, whose positions often mimic them from the right-right national front, have tried to challenge the centrist but professional Macron from the right.
"Today, one has the feeling that on Elysee they think they are overcrowded," said Wauquiez.