De Gaulle’s Brush with Death: August 22

On August 22, 1962, General De Gaulle was the target of the Petit-Clamart attack by the far-right organization OAS, a supporter of French Algeria. On July 5, France had recognized the independence of Algeria after the Évian agreements and two referendums, organized in France and then across the Mediterranean.

It is 8:20 p.m. on August 22, 1962, in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine), when two cars driving in the direction of Villacoublay fire on Charles de Gaulle’s presidential car. His DS, which also carries his wife Yvonne de Gaulle, takes a dozen bullets, out of the hundred fired in total. The fact that they survived is a miracle, as they were chased by two armed groups which were mainly made up of members of the OAS, far-right supporters of French Algeria. Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Bastien-Thiry, leader of the group, was shot on March 9, 1963: he was the last to receive such a fate in France.

In this group are also three Hungarians, including Lajos Marton, the last survivor who said ten years earlier that he had no regrets, if only one thing: “I regret that the operation was not successful”. The failed attack is in line with the many attacks undertaken against successive presidents: that of April 11, 1981 against Valéry Giscard d’Estaing illustrates this well.

The attack against “VGE” in Corsica

As he lands in Corsica to campaign for his re-election, two bombs explode in Ajaccio airport. Two injured and one dead are to be deplored, caused by a powerful machine hidden in an automatic locker and another in a toilet, while the president was still on the track. But that did not change his itinerary, his meeting scheduled for the same evening was held normally, and everything went well for him.

The attack against Chirac during the 2002 parade

Re-belote on July 14, 2002, during the parade on the Champs-Élysées. As Jacques Chirac walks down the most famous avenue in the world, two shots ring out. They come from the rifle of Maxime Brunéry, a 25-year-old neo-Nazi militant at the time. On this national holiday, it was passers-by who saved the President of the Republic by throwing themselves at the shooter. Jacques Chirac didn’t even realize what was happening, the bullets didn’t hit him. Sentenced to ten years in prison, the culprit was released in 2009, and expressed regret over his act to the JDD in 2019. However, in 2021, he demonstrated against the dissolution of the GUD (Groupe Union Défense) decided by the Minister of Interior, Gerald Darmanin.

To remedy these security problems, since 1973, nearly 70 agents have been responsible for the protection of the President within the Security Group of the Presidency of the Republic (GSPR).

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