Macron slapped in face during walkabout in southern France

French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron reached out for a handshake, while on a regional tour, but received a high-five to the face instead on Tuesday, 8 June, when a man in southeast France slapped him across the face.

The man could be heard shouting out "Down with Macronia" ("A Bas La Macronie") and then he delivered a slap to Macron's face.

However, as soon as he got close to the man, the unidentified man slapped the French leader across the face.

"A man indeed tried to hit the President of the Republic", the Elysee said in a statement to CNN. The presidential guard quickly move in and take hold of the assailant.

Around a dozen stops had been planned over the next two months, with Macron keen to meet voters in person after more than a year of crisis management linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the left-wing La France Insoumise group, said simply: 'I stand in solidarity with the President'.

A local police spokesman confirmed that two men had been arrested at the scene of the attack.

"One is thought to have described himself as an anarchist, but an enquiry is ongoing" said the spokesman.

Prime Minister Jean Castex called for a "Republican awakening, adding: "Democracy is debate, dialogue, expressing legitimate disagreements, but it can not in any way be violence, verbal aggression or physical aggression".

'In a democracy, opponents can express themselves freely, on the street, in the press, on television, and through the ballot box.

Le Pen echoed the prime minister's sentiments, tweeting that acts of violence against the president are "unacceptable".

Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the physical attack and denounced a political context of mounting verbal violence.

Macron is visiting a town in southeastern France as part of a whistle-stop tour of the country.

His opponents see it as a campaigning effort two weeks out from regional elections and less than a year from the presidential election.



Other news