The man who slapped President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday in Drôme is a fan of medieval history who follows the royalist far right on social networks, but who is described as apolitical and non-violent in his town.
Damien T., 28, arrested in Tain-L'Hermitage, lives in Saint-Vallier (Drôme) north of Valence.
There he founded two associations in the historical European martial arts - a practice of fighting "fallen into oblivion" which has 1,500 practitioners in France - and board games with figurines.
There he meets his friend Arthur C., 28, arrested by his side after filming the attack on the head of state.
Met Tuesday evening in Saint-Vallier, Loïc Dauriac, 36, is a friend of the two men - the second is his daughter's godfather.
He was also with them before the visit of Emmanuel Macron - the three were filmed by a team from the
Left before the slap, he says he was "enormously" surprised by the gesture of Damien T.: "It is not someone violent".
Two neighboring shopkeepers of the gaming association confirm, referring to “a kid without stories”.
No political opinion but subscribed to far-right accounts
"It is not at all the style of the person", still abound two old comrades of college and high school crossed in Saint-Vallier. “And he never showed a political opinion, as far as we know. Ditto for Arthur C., according to a resident who rubs shoulders with him in a neighborhood council. “Frankly, I fell from the sixth floor, I don't understand, this boy must have let himself be carried away,” he says on the phone. “I rub shoulders with him in our meetings, where we don't talk about politics or religion; we are there for the city, to help people, and he has always been correct with us, very sensible in his reasoning, ”he adds.
On YouTube, Damien T. is however a subscriber to several far-right channels, such as that of Henry de Lesquen, convicted in 2018 of incitement to hatred and contestation of crimes against humanity;
or royalists like that of the Cercle Richelieu.
His Facebook page indicates that he "likes" that of the Action Française Lyon group, among others from the same movements.
Asked about these online dating, Loïc Dauriac replies that he is "not surprised" because his friend "is curious by nature".
But "he doesn't have those ideas."
“He is against the royalists.
For him, they have stupid ideas, ”he says.
"Defend the beautiful image of France"
Why, then, have they uttered their war cry, "Montjoie Saint-Denis", attacking the president? For Loïc Dauriac, this should not be seen as a royalist reference but rather an allusion to the film
: as a good “medievalist”, he could just as easily have launched a replica of the television series
. According to him, Damien T. lives small temporary assignments after having started, without completing them, embalming studies. Its two associations aim to bring the town and its history, "quite rich with Diane de Poitiers" (who was Countess of Saint-Vallier) to life, to "defend the beautiful image of France".
And to explain the gesture of the day by resentment against a speech by Emmanuel Macron, in 2017, on the diversity of French culture;
by the difficulties "to make ends meet";
by the "big fed up" in front of a president "who does not listen to us".
"These people, it's been years since they voted," concludes Loïc Dauriac about the accused.
Why is violence against elected politicians increasing?
What does the expression “Montjoie Saint-Denis” referred to by the aggressor of the Head of State refer to?