French investigators raid home of Macron's bodyguard

President Macron

President Macron

A video showing Alexandre Benalla, a former bodyguard of Macron, in National Police gear striking and manhandling protesters during the May Day rallies in Paris has been released on social media.

And while the Elysee said Benalla had been transferred to an administrative role after the incident, he has nonetheless been seen several times since then in Macron's security detail.

Alexandre Benalla, 26, was sacked Friday after footage was released of him hitting the man at least twice as riot police looked on while breaking up a May Day protest in Paris. Lawmakers and the president's political opponents have questioned why Benalla was not fired and referred for prosecution when presidential officials learned about the beating months ago.

The Paris police prefecture said the footage was "improperly disclosed to a third party on the evening of July 18", the same night the newspaper Le Monde published the video that sparked the scandal.

He is facing charges of violence by a public official, impersonating a police officer and complicity in unauthorised use of surveillance footage, the Paris prosecutor's office said.

In France on the case of beating of the participant of a may day demonstration by the presidential adviser Alexander Benalla took custody of three policemen.

Another man who appears with him in an amateur video was also taken in custody.

Crase was handed preliminary charges of violence and prohibited possession of a weapon. The presidential palace initiated proceedings to fire Benalla Friday and investigators raided his house Saturday.

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The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says this suggests that Mr Macron's office may have already been aware of his actions.

The affair is particularly embarrassing for Macron since he won the presidency with pledges to restore transparency and integrity to the nation's highest office.

Macron's political adversaries have seized the opportunity.

Lawmakers have launched a six-month parliamentary inquiry into the incident itself, the lenient initial punishment, the failure of the authorities to report Benalla promptly to the judiciary, and the broader question of "the circumstances under which people who aren't members of the security forces have been or may be involved in policing duties". Les Republicans party leader Laurent Wauquiez said the government was "trying to hide a matter of state".

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted: "If Macron doesn't explain himself, the Benalla affair will become the Macron affair".

Macron has remained silent on the topic.

Condemning the "unacceptable behavior", Macron spokesman Bruno Roger-Petit said that Benalla was also removed from his responsibilities of organizing security for presidential trips - though he maintains his office at the Elysee Palace.

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