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French woman faces trial for 'insulting' Macron on Facebook

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
French woman faces trial for 'insulting' Macron on Facebook
People take part in a demonstration against pensions reform in Paris on March 23, 2023. A woman holds a sign showing Macron in royal attire. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

A woman in northern France is to be put on trial on charges of insulting President Emmanuel Macron after describing him as 'filth' in a Facebook post, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

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The woman, risks a fine of €12,000 but not prison if convicted at the trial due to be held in June.

She was arrested on Friday and held in custody for questioning after the state's local administrative office filed a complaint over her Facebook post, the prosecutor in the northern town of Saint Omer, Mehdi Benbouzid, told AFP.

The complaint focused on a post on her Facebook page made on March 21, the day before Macron gave a lunchtime interview to TF1 television to defend his controversial pension reforms that have sparked nationwide protests.

"This piece of filth is going to address you at 1:00 pm... it's always on television that we see this filth," she wrote.

The woman, in her 50s, had been a supporter of the 2018-2019 "Yellow Vest" protests that shook Macron during his first mandate.

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She stands accused of "insulting the president of the republic" and will stand trial on June 20 in Saint Omer, the prosecutor said.

"They want to make an example of me," the woman told La Voix du Nord regional newspaper which first reported the accusations.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why is there so much anger in France about pension reform?

The woman, named by the paper as Valerie, said she was astonished when she answered the knock on the door on Friday morning to find police had come to arrest her.

"I asked them if it was a joke, I had never been arrested," she said. "I am not public enemy number one."

The months-long protest movement against the pension reform has sent social tensions spiralling in France and Macron and his government refuse to give way.

New clashes between police and protesters erupted Tuesday and unions have announced a new day of strikes and protests on April 6.

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