Filmed the day before repelling the assailant, during the knife attack in Annecy that injured six people (including four children), Henri d'Anselme, 24, received this Friday the congratulations in person of President Emmanuel Macron. A few moments after his meeting with the Head of State, who came with his wife Brigitte Macron to salute the courage of the young man and that of the rescue teams who intervened during the dramatic attack, we were able to meet the "hero with backpacks".
What were you doing at the time the attack took place?
HENRY OF ANSELME. I was on the Pâquier (Editor's note: the park near Lake Annecy). I was heading to Annecy Cathedral, which I wanted to see one last time before heading back to the motorway to hitchhike on my nine-month journey through cathedrals. And I crossed paths with this killer. When I saw the assault, I thought at first it was a snatch. But I quickly realized that it was a knife attack. I acted as any Frenchman would or should do, from the moment he fed on beautiful things before.
How did you feel at that moment?
I really felt a kind of huge inner strength to throw myself a little bit into the action. Because when I met the eyes of the guy who, at one point, turned on me to try to stab me, I felt very quickly that he was inhabited by a very evil force that pushed him to act. And for me, it was unthinkable to leave these children defenseless.
You quickly understood the seriousness of the facts?
I still quickly saw the knife, a long black knife and very quickly, I saw that it targeted children. And so, I didn't think. It was very natural to intervene and not let that happen. Perhaps my action will be a symbol for all those who refuse to bow their heads in the face of this kind of event where evil is unleashed.
Find our full video interview at the top of the article.