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#MacronOrdure trending in France after woman arrested for 'insulting' Macron

A municipal worker stands next to a pile of garbage before collecting it up with a mobile excavator on a sidewalk in Paris, on March 30, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

The hashtag #MacronOrdure (#MacronGarbage) has become viral on social networks across France following the police arrest of a woman who has been referred to by her first name Valerie.

Valerie, 50, was confronted by 3 police officers last Friday at her home and taken into custody for alleged insults on social media to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Valerie had posted a picture of graffiti on Facebook which read, "Macron Ordure" (Macron Garbage in French), according to Local media.

The graffiti was outside a waste disposal depot in the nearby city of Arques in northern France, and she had simply “been photographed in front of it, smiling,” according to the regional French newspaper La Voix du Nord.

She then referred to Macron as "garbage" in another Facebook post dated March 21, 2023.

“The garbage will speak tomorrow at 1 pm, for people who are nothing, it's always on television that we see this garbage,” she wrote, making reference to an upcoming television interview with Macron about his proposed pension reforms.

Three days later, she was arrested by police after the state's local administrative office filed a complaint against her over the Facebook posts, in particular, the one made on March 21, the day before Macron’s lunchtime interview on TF1 television.

"I asked them if it was a joke, as I had never been arrested," she told the newspaper. "I am not public enemy number one."

In her defense, the French senior citizen said that she had not made any direct reference to Macron's name. "I don't even mention him."

She is currently accused of "insulting the president of the republic" and will stand trial on June 20.

"I am an activist for social justice,” she told La Voix du Nord. “They want to make an example of me.”

If convicted in court, the Yellow Vest activist faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to 22,500 euros.

The French government has been using an iron fist to crack down on those calling for Macron's ouster.

Earlier this month, garbage had piled up in French streets and fuel deliveries were blocked from refineries as workers continued their anti-reforms strikes.

This week, according to French interior minister Gerald Darmanin, 13,000 security were deployed in different cities to clamp down on protesters.

Around 119,000 people marched in Paris on Thursday, the French interior ministry said, setting a record for the capital during the recent pension protests. 

Darmanin said on Thursday a total of 457 people were arrested as French police resorted to tear gas and attacked the protesters angry with Macron’s use of constitutional executive powers to push through the law that has prompted calls for this government's dismissal. 

The CGT trade union said nearly 3.5 million protesters took to the streets in the nationwide mass protest with public anger showing no signs of abating. 

Angry protesters were heard chanting “Macron out” as they marched in Paris to gather at Place de la Bastille, the site where the French revolution kicked off in 1789, media reports said.

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