Sources familiar with the investigations pointed out that the man who was reported to have slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face runs a club for lovers of medieval fencing and has no previous criminal record.
A police source identified the suspect as Damian Tarrell, 28, and local prosecutors said he was being investigated for assaulting a public servant, Reuters news agency reported.
Macron was on a pulse-pounding tour of the country after the coronavirus pandemic and less than a year before the presidential election when he was slapped in the face as he greeted a small crowd of pedestrians in southern France.
Tarrell was wearing a khaki shirt when he shouted “Down with the macaroni”, then gave a war cry to the French army in the era of the monarchy.
A source closely linked to the investigation described him as looking a bit lost and eccentric.
The source added that Tarrell and another man were still being held on Wednesday. A charge of assaulting a public official carries a penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to 45,000 euros