By Sarah Begley
January 9, 2015

A gunman killed by French police on Friday after taking a number of hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris met with then-president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009.

According to local newspaper Le Parisien, Sarkozy met with 500 young French people on July 15, 2009 to talk about work/study training and youth employment; among them was Amedy Coulibaly, then 27 and on contract at a Coca-Cola factory in Grigny, a suburb of Paris.

Coulibaly was interviewed by the newspaper in advance of the meeting, saying he was excited to meet the president and hoped he could help get him hired when his contract at the factory ended. He said his nine sisters had charged him with getting autographs and photos for the whole family.

“In the cities, with the young people, Sarkozy isn’t really very popular,” Coulibaly said. “But it’s nothing personal. In fact, that’s the case with most politicians.”

But the president’s unpopularity didn’t curb Coulibaly’s enthusiasm: “Whether you like him or not, he’s still the president.”

[Le Parisien]

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