Paris investigators on Friday detained for questioning one of President Emmanuel Macron's top security aides who was caught on camera beating a protester in May, a turn of events that is evolving into the biggest political crisis to hit the president since he took office a year ago.
Prosecutors in Paris opened a probe on Thursday into possible charges of violence by a public official, of pretending to be a policeman and the illegal use of police insignia.
A source close to the inquiry said that three police officers, including two high-ranking officials, have been suspended on suspicion of providing the footage to Benalla.
He had been given permission by the president's office to attend the protests as an observer of the security operation, but had no authorization to take part in police work.
A few days after the incident Benalla was suspended without pay for two weeks and transferred to an administrative role instead of organizing security for Macron's trips.
The newspaper Le Monde identified Benalla as the man in the video who was wearing a police helmet and beating a young protester.
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Explaining the incident post-stage, Nibali said: "The road became narrower and there were no barriers". I had trouble breathing and now I don't feel well standing".
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His actions were previously described as "unacceptable behaviour" by Mr Macron's spokesman, Bruno Roger-Petit.
"Clearly, he went beyond this.He was immediately summoned by the president's chief of staff and given a 15-day suspension".
"Without Le Monde's revelations, this would never have come to light, under the good old principle of "not seen, not caught", it wrote.
For his political opponents, like Geoffroy Didier of the conservative party Les Republicains, what was seen as favorable treatment for Benalla amplifies the perception that Macron lives in "a citadel".
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) flanked by security staff Alexandre Benalla (R) leaves his home.
Labour unions hold demonstrations every year on May Day in France, which often lead to police intervention.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, responding to questions in the Senate, called the video images "shocking", but stumbled to respond to questions, notably whether all French are equal before the law.
Shortly afterwards he returns to the scene, attacking another protester who had been carried a short distance by police before being left alone on the ground. He appears in multiple Reuters' photos alongside Macron during public events.