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World

Macron slapped in the face during walkabout in southeastern France

  • A man in a crowd of onlookers slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face when he was on a walkabout in southern France on Tuesday.
08 Jun 2021

A man in a crowd of onlookers slapped French President Emmanuel Macron in the face when he was on a walkabout in southern France on Tuesday, video showed.

Macron's security entourage pulled the man to the ground and moved Macron away. Two people were arrested, BFM TV and RMC radio reported.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said the attack was an affront to democracy.

Macron was on a visit to the Drome region in southeastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students to talk about returning to a normal life after the COVID-19 epidemic.

In a video circulating on social media, Macron, dressed in shirt sleeves, could be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers standing behind a metal barrier.

He reached out his hand to greet one man, in a green T-shirt, with glasses and a face mask.

The man could be heard shouting out "Down with Macronia" ("A Bas La Macronie") and then he slapped Macron in the face.

The man could also be heard shouting "Montjoie Saint Denis", the battle cry of the French army when the country was still a monarchy.

Two of Macron's security detail tackled the man in the green T-shirt, while another ushered Macron away. Macron remained in the vicinity of the crowd for a brief moment, gesturing to someone on the other side of the barriers before his security agents moved him away.

The Elysee Palace said there had been an attempt to strike Macron, but declined further comment.

In 2016, Macron, who was economy minister at the time, was pelted with eggs by hard-left trade unionists during a strike against labour reforms. Macron described that incident as "par for the course" and said it would not curb his determination.

Two years later, anti-government "yellow vest" protesters heckled and booed Macron in an incident that government allies said left the president shaken.

The identify of the man who attacked Macron, and his motives, were unclear.