A "figure" of the yellow vests was placed in police custody Wednesday in Besançon (Doubs) after replacing the portrait of Emmanuel Macron with a QR code to protest against the health pass, we learned from the prosecution and of his lawyers, who denounce a “political” arrest.
Stéphane Espic, who became known during the movement of yellow vests in particular by tags, was arrested at 10 a.m. and was still in custody in the early evening, said the Besançon prosecutor's office, which opened a investigation for "degradation of public property, contempt of a person holding public authority and theft".
The incriminated facts occurred Monday "at 1 pm", according to the same source.
Located and arrested in Nancy
According to a source close to the case, "it is the departmental security of Doubs which identified the author and located him in Nancy", the city where he was arrested and placed in police custody.
It should be handed over to the Besançon police on Thursday for its presentation to the prosecution of this city.
In a press release, Stéphane Espic's lawyers, Mes Juan Branco and David Libeskind, indicate that their client "has withdrawn an official portrait of Emmanuel Macron from his frame (...) hanging in the town hall of Besançon (...) and replaced it with a QR code, supposed to embody the health pass ”.
Read also Anti-health pass demonstrations: the new sling of the yellow vests
The action was filmed and posted on Facebook, continue the lawyers, who add that their client deposited on the spot “a lobster (…) in order to indicate the dimension both humorous and political of his act”.
The video visible on the “support for dissidence” group shows in particular the portrait of the Head of State being withdrawn from its frame and replaced by the photocopy of a QR code in the form of a middle finger and bearing the mention "no to the health pass!"
A large inflatable lobster is visible in the images.
Humor to "make your voice heard"
Another sequence of the video then shows the portrait of Emmanuel Macron torn, his head removed from the photo.
The qualifications retained by the prosecution are "inappropriate", believe Mes Branco and Liebeskind, according to which "no" theft, contempt or degradation can be blamed on Stéphane Espic.
They also consider the arrest and detention of their client to be “completely arbitrary and political”.
Stéphane Espic "has never used any kind of violence and has always chosen the humorous route in order to make his voice and his citizen demands heard", write the councils again, which denounce the "relentlessness" of which their client makes according to them "the object (...) from the prosecution for thirty-six months and the beginning of the movement of yellow vests".
In August 2020, the Yellow Vest had attempted a crossing to Fort de Brégançon, with an inflatable lobster on which were written insults intended for Brigitte Macron, who was then on vacation with her husband in the state residence.
Since 2018, many public buildings have suffered portrait dropouts of Emmanuel Macron throughout France.