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France offers citizenship to Malian immigrant who scaled building to save child

France offers citizenship to Malian immigrant who scaled building to save child

Gassama - christened "Spider-Man" on French social media - has emerged as an overnight celebrity after rescuing the child Saturday night, at a moment when life is becoming increasingly hard for immigrants in France.

A real-life "Spiderman" has climbed a tall building in order to save a child who was suspending from the balcony of the fourth floor.

The incident happened at around 8:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Saturday in northern Paris.

The video footage is striking: In a matter of seconds, a young man scales four stories of a Paris apartment building to rescue a toddler dangling from a balcony above the street.

It was a jaw-dropping feat captured on video that went viral and also captured the hearts of onlookers who were stunned, but their senses were probably tingling with appreciation.

President Emmanuel Macron invited the man to the presidential palace to offer gratitude in person.

He personally thanked Gassama, gave him a medal for courage and said he would also be offered a role in the fire service.

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Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was among many who praised the 22-year-old's courageous act, calling him an "example for all citizens". The father was later held for questioning by Paris police for having left his child unattended and was due in court later, said reports. He is to become a naturalised French citizen "within three months", Paris officials said.

Gassama said he was just walking by when he saw a crowd gathered in front of the building.

Macron urged Gassama to put in his request for nationalization papers, promising he would be naturalized into the country. "I went outside and I saw the kid hanging on the fourth floor", he told VOA. He first arrived to Italy and entered France past year.

"What you have done corresponds with what firefighters do; if this fits your wishes, you could join the firefighters' corps so that you can do (such acts) on a daily basis", he said.

"The president should regularise everyone", said Mamoudou, a 26-year-old Malian who claimed to be a childhood friend of the "Spiderman". "I replied that his heroic act is an example for all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France", she tweeted.

The family of a young boy plucked to safety after dangling from a balcony in Paris has thanked the man who saved him.

"I wanted to act carefully above all and I certainly did not want to risk the child's life", he said.


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