'A man of power like the others': what voters think of Macron after Benalla affair

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In an attempt to play down the Benalla affair, the minister for equality Marlène Schiappa claimed that the issue did not interest “the people”. To test this assertion Mediapart went to  her political stronghold, the central western city of Le Mans, visiting both its plusher districts where Emmanuel Macron picked up 35% of the first-round vote last year, and more working class areas. As Justine Brabant found, while the affair involving the president's bodyguard dressing in police insignia and beating up protestors has not shaken people's convictions, many profess to be weary of politics – both that of the old world and Macron's “new world”.

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“The Macron supporters from the area? They've all gone to La Baule!” is the reaction, referring to the upmarket resort on France's Atlantic coast. It was certainly hard to find them when Mediapart visited the affluent city centre of Le Mans in central western France one Thursday in early August. The junk mail piled up on the doorsteps in Rue Prémartine were testament to the fact that the local inhabitants had gone off on holiday. There was just Alain, who had a sun hat on and was patiently painting his top shutters white. The retired literature teacher says, a tad ironically: “Everyone's gone to the coast. The classic bourgeoisie: a pied-à-terre in Paris and another at the seaside!”