Macron to fire senior aide who violently struck May Day protester

Emmanuel Macron, flanked by his head of security Alexandre Benalla, during his presidential campaign

Emmanuel Macron, flanked by his head of security Alexandre Benalla, during his presidential campaign More

In the footage, which was released on Wednesday by Le Monde newspaper, Benalla can be seen dragging a woman away from a protest and later beating a male demonstrator.

The officers handed the images over to Benalla, who was hoping to prove his innocence.

Three police officers have been suspended for giving Mr Benalla CCTV footage of the incident, which has been a serious embarrassment for Mr Macron.

Emmanuel Macron (C), head of the political movement En Marche!, or Onwards!, and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, flanked by Alexandre Benalla (L), head of security, attends a campaign visit in Rodez, France, May 5, 2017. Benalla then left the scene.

"He is suspected of receiving material from the police he was not authorized to have", the Elysee said.

"As a result. the presidency has made a decision to start Alexandre Benalla's dismissal procedure".

A few days after the incident Benalla was suspended without pay for two weeks and transferred to an administrative role instead of organising security for Macron's trips.

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The Paris prosecutor, which was unaware of the matter before Thursday, launched a preliminary investigation against Alexandre Benalla on suspicion of violence, usurping the function of a police officer and using signs reserved for public authorities.

Also on Friday, prosecutors said 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 1 protest, was also taken into custody.

Benalla was the head of security during Macron's successful campaign previous year, usually found several steps behind the then-candidate, and transferred to the presidential staff in May 2017.

Prominent members of Macron's government struggled to explain the situation, especially when pressed on the question of a potential legal double standard that had applied to an administration official.

"An observer doesn't act like that", said the spokesman for the UNSA-Police union. "This man is the eyes and ears of the prince (Macron)". "Our work must stop immediately and the prime minister must come and explain this", said Christian Jacob of the right-wing Republicans party.

After the 15-day suspension, Benalla was brought back into the president's immediate entourage.

The original video, posted on social media by 21-year-old Taha Bouhafs, shows a man in a police helmet who is not in uniform joining CRS riot police after clashes erupted.

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