Bodyguard to France’s President Emmanuel Macron suspended over student beating

Emmanuel Macron security official filmed hitting protester

Emmanuel Macron at the Paris book fair, France, March 24, 2017.

Critics of Macron said the incident reinforced perceptions of a lofty, out-of-touch president, coming on the heels of controversies over government spending on official crockery, a swimming pool built at a presidential retreat, and cutting remarks by the president about the costs of welfare.

Le Monde newspaper published a video showing Benalla dragging off a woman then hitting and stamping on a young man while wearing a police visor during a demonstration in central Paris on May 1.

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

Opposition politicians expressed outrage that the Elysée Palace had merely imposed a two-week suspension and demoted Alexandre Benalla, a deputy chief of staff in charge of security, for the incident which was caught on video yesterday. "This came as punishment for unacceptable behavior".

Paris prosecutors announced their probe into Alexandre Benalla on Thursday amid a public outcry over the incident on May 1.

Asked about the video and the investigation during a visit to southwest France on Thursday, Macron refused to comment, saying only: "I'm here with the people".

Putin slams US forces ready to 'sacrifice' Russia-US ties
Browder told Fox Business Network that it was "just shocking" that the White House is considering granting Putin's request. She said the administration is working to make sure Russian Federation doesn't meddle in the 2018 midterm elections .

Several opposition leaders voiced criticism over Benalla's punishment, arguing it was too lenient.

"This video is shocking".

Despite this Mr Macron faced allegations he was trying to "hush the affair" from Laurent Wauquiez, who is the head of main conservative party the Republicans.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon told reporters: "If we accept that anybody can be a policeman alongside the police then we no longer have the rule of law".

He condemned Mr Benalla's behaviour as unacceptable and said he'd been removed from his responsibilities of organising security for presidential trips.

The 40-year-old centrist was in Australia on May 1, a traditional day of demonstrations in France organised by trade unions, but which was marred this year by hundreds of black-clad anarchists who clashed with police and smashed up shops. He appears in multiple Reuters' photos alongside Macron during public events.

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