An undocumented immigrant has been given honorary French citizenship after a jaw-dropping video emerged online showing him climbing four storeys to save a child hanging from the balcony of a Paris apartment bloc.
Mamoudou Gassama, 22, was dubbed the ‘Parisian Spiderman’ after he scaled the facade of the building in the city’s 18th arrondissement. A four-year-old child, reportedly left alone in the apartment when the tot’s father went shopping, was hanging from the balcony railing outside.
While it isn’t clear how the child managed to get into such a predicament, the video shows the fearless Gassama springing into action, climbing the balconies seemingly without effort. Once at the top, he grabs the child with one arm and pulls the child to safety.
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The video has sparked a huge reaction online, with many signing a petition for the Malian immigrant to be granted French citizenship. Writing on
, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo paid tribute to Gassama’s bravery, saying that his “heroic gesture is an example of all citizens.” The politician added that the city of Paris is “committed” to helping the undocumented immigrant establish himself in France. Gassama was granted honorary citizenship during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace Monday morning.
Il m'a expliqué être arrivé du Mali il y a quelques mois en rêvant de construire sa vie ici. Je lui ai répondu que son geste héroïque est un exemple pour tous les citoyens et que la Ville de Paris aura évidemment à coeur de le soutenir dans ses démarches pour s'établir en France.— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) May 27, 2018
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Social media users were effusive in their praise of Gassama.
According to La Parisien, the father appeared in a Paris court Sunday evening. It is expected that he will face a criminal trial later this year on charges of “subtraction from parental responsibility.” If convicted, the man could face two years in prison and a fine of €30,000. The child has since been placed in state care.
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