PARIS (REUTERS) – French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face on Tuesday (June 8) by a man in a crowd of onlookers while on a walkabout in southern France, video of the incident showed.
Mr Macron’s security entourage quickly intervened to pull the man to the ground and move Mr Macron away from him.
Two people were arrested in connection with the incident, broadcasters BFM TV and RMC radio reported.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the incident was an affront to democracy.
The incident took place while Mr Macron was on a visit to the Drome region in south-eastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid-19 epidemic.
In video circulating on social media, Mr Macron, dressed in shirt sleeves, can be seen walking towards a crowd of people who were behind a metal barrier.
The French President reaches out his hand to greet one man in a green T-shirt, with glasses and a face mask.
The man can be heard shouting out “Down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”) and then he delivers a slap to Mr Macron’s face.
Two of Mr Macron’s security detail tackle the man in the green T-shirt, while another ushers Mr Macron away.
But Mr Macron remained in the vicinity of the crowd for a few more seconds, and appeared to be talking to someone on the other side of the barriers.
The presidential administration said there had been an attempt to strike Mr Macron, but declined further comment.
The identify of the man who slapped Mr Macron, and his motives, were unclear.
While slapping the President, he could be heard shouting “Montjoie Saint Denis,” which was the battle cry of the French armies when the country was still a monarchy.