French woman put on trial on charges of insulting President Emmanuel Macron on Facebook

World Thursday 30/March/2023 21:37 PM
French woman put on trial on charges of insulting President Emmanuel Macron on Facebook

Paris: A woman in northern France who described Emmanuel Macron as "filth" on Facebook is to be put on trial on charges of insulting the President, a prosecutor said on Wednesday (local time), reported France24.

The woman risks a fine of 12,000 euros 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, reported France24.

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.

She is 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.

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.

Meanwhile, France's highest constitutional authority will rule on Macron's controversial pension reform on April 14, it said Wednesday, a verdict decisive for the future of the changes, reported France24.

The reforms were passed by parliament on March 16 after the government used a mechanism to bypass a vote by MPs, inflaming nationwide protests.

They were considered adopted by parliament when the government survived two no-confidence motions on March 20.

But the reforms can only come into law once they are validated by the Constitutional Council, which has the power to strike out some or even all of the legislation if deemed out of step with the constitution, reported France24.

The council's members -- known as "les sages" ("the wise ones") -- will give two decisions when the ruling is made public on the legislation, whose headline measure raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The first will be on whether the legislation is in line with the French constitution.

And the second will be on whether a demand launched by the left for a referendum on the changes is admissible, reported France24.

If a referendum was ruled admissible, backers would need to get the signatures of a tenth of the electorate -- almost five million people -- for it to be called.

Its verdict will be a critical juncture in Macron's battle to impose the legislation, which has seen 10 days of major strikes and protests since January, most recently on Tuesday.

New clashes between police and protesters erupted Tuesday and unions have announced a new day of strikes and protests on April 6, reported France24.