Claude Lefort

How the Benalla bodyguard affair revealed Macron's brand of populism

France — Opinion

On Monday September 13th 2021 President Emmanuel Macron's former bodyguard and security adviser Alexandre Benalla stood trial following an incident in 2018 when he was filmed assaulting protestors at a demonstration. In addition to assault, Benalla is also accused of interfering in the operation of the police without lawful excuse, of forgery and using a false instrument in relation to a diplomatic passport and unlawfully carrying a firearm. In this op-ed article Mediapart's Fabrice Arfi argues that the importance of the Benalla case goes beyond the conduct of the president's trusted bodyguard and adviser. He says that the high-profile affair, and in particular a speech that the president gave just one week after it was revealed in the press, showed the world there is something quite illiberal about Emmanuel Macron.