Real-life Spider-Man becomes French

Central Station | 14 Sep 2018

The migrant hero nicknamed "Spider-Man" for saving a child hanging off a balcony by scaling a Paris apartment block with his bare hands has become a French citizen by government decree.

Nimble 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama from Mali was fast-tracked to nationality and a job in the fire service after the rescue in May.

"This act of great bravery exemplifies the values that help unite our national community," reads an official citation.

Gassama, who was in France illegally, was catapulted to global fame by the extraordinary feat captured in video footage. That shows the former construction worker jumping from one floor to the next, hauling himself up toward the four-year-old boy dangling above.

He was congratulated in person by President Emmanuel Macron two days later, and then met Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the West African nation.

Gassama arrived in France in September 2017 after travelling the Mediterranean migrant route and found a job in construction despite not having the right to work.

But activists have accused the French government of "hypocrisy," pointing to its treatment of other migrants.

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