Police have arrested a woman for allegedly calling French President Emmanuel Macron “trash” on social media in the country’s latest crackdown on free speech.
A middle-aged woman in the Saint-Martin-lez-Tatinghem commune of the Calais region of France was arrested at her home by three police officers for referring to French President Macron as “trash” on Facebook.
The arrest was under the controversial criminal code, which makes it illegal to spread “contempt” about “public officials.”
The woman, Valérie, became targeted after she was photographed standing in front of graffiti calling the French leader “trash,” which an officer believes she wrote.
Police confronted Valérie about a Facebook she wrote last week ahead of a Macron press conference, which said: “The trash will talk tomorrow at 1 p.m., for people who are nothing, it is always (sic) on TV that we find the trash.”
Valérie was arrested and will be tried on June 20th and could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to €15,000.
The French government criminalizes statements deemed to “affect the personal dignity or the respect owed to a public official.”
Valérie told the local La Voix du Nord newspaper she was being made an “example of,” and said when police showed up at her door: “I asked them if it was a joke; it’s the first time I’ve been arrested… I am not public enemy number one.”
Valérie added she had not even intended to call the head of state “trash,” claiming it was due to an autocorrect function, and it said she intended to refer to Macron as “hard gold” (l’or dur in French).
However, the veteran protester of the Gillet Juanes (Yellow Vests) vowed to continue her activism: “We are in a period when intimidation is strong, and it is done on activists… We will continue to demonstrate and publish but I will read more carefully.”
She said that she would continue the fight against “this totally unfair pension reform. I am fighting for social justice. I have been an activist for about twenty years, and if necessary, I will be for another two years.”
The arrest comes in the wake of a nationwide uprising against Macron’s Government for using a constitutional loophole to pass through its controversial pension reform without a vote from the French people.
As The Daily Fetched reported, the french president used Article 49.3 of the Constitution to force he pension reform bill without a parliamentary vote.
The enactment of article 49.3 highlights the pension bill’s unpopularity as many protests explode across France against Macron for ignoring the will of the people.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally party, called for Macron to step down.
“After the slap that the Prime Minister just gave the French people, by imposing a reform which they do not want, I think that Elisabeth Borne should go,” tweeted Le Pen earlier this month.
WATCH: French Police Take off Their Helmets and Join Protesters in Defiance of Macron