Emmanuel Macron slapped in the face during a walkabout | Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man during a walkabout in the south of France.
The president’s security service immediately threw the man to the ground and pulled Macron away from the crowd, although the president appears unharmed and determined to continue meeting with the public.
A video of the incident showed the president, in a white shirt and tie, approaching onlookers who were waiting behind metal barriers at Tain-l’Hermitage in Drôme.
Macron, wearing a mask, reaches out to shake the hand of a man dressed in a green t-shirt wearing glasses and a mask.
Reuters reported that the man was heard screaming “down with Macronie(Down with macronism) before grabbing the president’s right arm and slapping him on the left side of the face. He would also have shouted “Montjoie Saint Denis», The battle cry of the French armies when the country was a monarchy.
Two people were arrested in connection with the assault, according to reports, and are being held for “deliberate violence against a person in public authority”.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the incident was an affront to democracy.
“Politics can never be about violence, verbal aggression let alone physical aggression. I call for a republican awakening, we are all concerned, the foundations of our democracy are at stake, “Castex told the National Assembly.
Last week, Macron began a six-week political tour de France aimed at “taking the pulse” of the country as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis. With the regional elections approaching this month and, most importantly, next year’s presidential battle, the French leader will make two regional visits per week until mid-July.
He was in Drôme to meet with local restaurateurs and students to talk about how their lives are slowly returning to normal as Covid restrictions are lifted. Macron was accompanied by Guillaume Gomez, a former chef at the Élysée Palace who was appointed “special advisor to the president for French gastronomy”.
Alex Perrin, public prosecutor of Valence, told the local newspaper Dauphiné Libéré that two 28-year-old men had been arrested.
“They are not known to the police. One is accused of having hit the President of the Republic, the other accompanied him, ”declared Perrin, specifying that the investigation was being carried out by the gendarmes of Drôme. The person accused of violence faces a fine of 750 € if found guilty.
The Elysee Palace confirmed that the video of the incident was genuine, but declined to comment further.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen also condemned the assault.
“I say this with absolute firmness; it is unacceptable to physically attack the president of the republic or political representatives, but above all the president. I am Emmanuel Macron’s main rival, but he is president of the republic and as such, we can beat him politically, but we cannot accept the slightest violence towards him. I consider this behavior unacceptable and deeply deplorable in a democracy ”, The pen told BFMTV.
Former socialist president François Hollande tweeted: “Attacking the President of the Republic is an unacceptable and intolerable blow for our institutions. Faced with this indescribable act, the whole nation must show solidarity with the Head of State. Under these circumstances, I address all my support to @EmmanuelMacron.“