President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man in the crowd during a walkabout in southern France on Tuesday.
The embarrassing incident took place while Macron was on a visit to the Drome region in southeastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
As seen in the viral video obtained and first reported by BFM TV and RMC radio, Macron’s security entourage quickly intervened and pulled the man to the ground before moving Macron away from him.
The French president dressed in shirt sleeves could be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers who were behind a metal barrier.
As he reached to shake the man in a green T-Shirt, with glasses and a face mask, he was met with a slap on the face. The man also shouted out “Down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”)
Two of Macron’s security detail tackled the man in the green T-shirt, while another ushered Macron away.
The identity of the man and his motives are still unclear but the presidency confirmed there had been an attempt to strike Macron. However, they did not give further details.
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.
Many have come out to condemn the incident. French Prime Minister Jean Castex described it as an affront to democracy.