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President Macron; Marine Le Pen. Photo supplied

Older photo of gangster posing with Macron discovered

A French daily has found an older photo of the criminal who crossed paths with the head of state, Emmanuel Macron, on Saturday, on the island of Saint-Martin. The young robber also posed showing gang signs in 2015.

Published: October 4, 2018, 8:59 am

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    Before he was imprisoned in February 2015, the criminal had already signalled his disdain for authority. Wearing the same white tank top, and showing the same provocation with his fingers, Le Parisien found a photo of the young criminal who, with his cousin, posed with the President of the France.

    During his visit to St. Martin [French West Indies] Macron took selfies with the two cousins. The embarrassing selfies were broadcast on social networks, creating a huge controversy.

    In February 2015, Reaulf Fleming, known as “Raul”, had just been arrested in St. Martin for robbery. The thug who was actually handcuffed, was photographed just before he was placed in pre-trial detention.

    He requested that the police who arrested him, take a photograph of him.

    The robber was sentenced in April 2015 to 5 years in prison. He was recently released from detention when the head of state Macron met him this past weekend, urging the young man to stop “the nonsense” and to tackle the reconstruction of the island devastated by the hurricane Irma.

    “The president said he would help me find work and help my sick mother,” said Reaulf Fleming on Monday. According to him, the head of state has given him “great motivation”.

    “It made me want to leave this island. I would like to work in plumbing.” This may be a real challenge for the young black criminal who, according to information obtained by Le Parisien, is the relative of one of the most notorious leaders of the armed gang controlling the cocaine market from Guyana.

    While his popularity rating continues to plummet in the polls, Emmanuel Macron sparked controversy by agreeing to be photographed with the young criminal and his cousin, shirtless, showing a middle finger. On a video of the encounter, Macron can be seen hugging and embracing the two half-naked gangsters.

    “I love every child of the Republic, no matter what his troubles, because he often did not choose the place where he was born, and he did not have the chance not to do so,” declared Macron.

    The convicted criminal then posted the photo on social networks stating that his gesture was not addressed to the president, but to all those who thought that his neighbourhood was not secure, according to a journalist present during the trip.

    But Annick Girardin, minister for France’s overseas territories, told the BBC about the alarming “scenes of pillaging”. She has urged police to restore order. “We need to restore public order to Saint-Martin,” she said.

    “I was out this morning and this afternoon and there was looting right there in front of my eyes. There is a strange mood at the moment in Saint-Martin, so we need to think about public order.”

    The island is shared between France and the Netherlands. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said more soldiers and police would be deployed after reports of gangsters with guns and machetes roaming the streets.

    The Netherlands is sending more forces to contain “serious” post-storm looting on the island, it said.

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