French President Emmanuel Macron is on Monday due to meet the young Malian migrant who scaled a Paris apartment block to save a child dangling from a balcony, sources in the Elysee Palace said.
Mammadou Gassama has been hailed as a hero after a video clip of him hauling himself up from balcony to balcony and finally reaching the child on the fourth floor went viral.
Broadcaster BFMTV quoted Gassama as saying that he had been on his way to watch the Champions' League final when he noticed people shouting and blowing car horns.
‘I love children, I wouldn't have wanted something to happen to him in front of me,’ he told the broadcaster.
‘I managed to get up to the balcony above. I went up like that. And thank God, I saved him,’ he added.
Gassama's brother told BFMTV that the young man had no residency papers and was living in temporary accommodation.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux suggested on Twitter that a solution might be on its way.
‘This act of immense gallantry, faithful to our republic's values of solidarity, should open the doors of our national community to him,’ Griveaux wrote.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter that she had spoken to Gassama and the city would support his efforts to regularize his status.
But with Macron's government taking a hard line on undocumented migrants, not everyone was impressed with the president's move.
‘At the same time, [Macron's] police will continue to hound his brothers in misfortune and harass those who come to their aid out of solidarity,’ environmentalist senator Esther Benbassa wrote on Twitter.
#Immigrants do get the job done: “Spiderman Hero of Paris” 22yo Mamoudou Gassama, an undocumented immigrant from Mali, scaled the side of a building in seconds to save a toddler dangling from a 4th-floor balcony. Amazing & beautiful https://t.co/k1e4dy4Kjs pic.twitter.com/kTg6xxPKgS— Paula Chertok?? (@PaulaChertok) May 28, 2018
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