Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Macron slapped during crowd walkabout (V)

French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a protective face mask visits a child psychiatry department at Reims hospital to discuss the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown on children and teenagers in France Watch Macron Get Slapped in the Face During Tour of France REUTERS CHRISTIAN HARTMANN
Deanna Wagner | 08 June, 2021, 17:49

A bystander slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday on the second stop of a nation-wide tour.

As the president is slapped, the words "Down with Macron-ism" are shouted.

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

Video of the slap circulated on social media Tuesday, and was confirmed by Macron's staff as authentic.

Mr Macron was in La Drôme to meet restaurant owners, ahead of Wednesday's easing of Covid-19 restrictions in France.

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

French media later described the attacker as an "anarchist".

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Just a few minutes after the attack, Macron's ally, Prime Minister Jean Castex, took the floor of the National Assembly where he warned of attacks on 'the foundations of democracy'. "Respect for the institutions of the Republic and its representatives is a cardinal principle of our democratic life".

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.

It is not the first time that Mr Macron has been attacked by angry crowd members while out in public.

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

The centrist is widely expected to seek re-election in next year's presidential elections and polls show him with a narrow lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Macron conducted another tour billed as a listening exercise in 2019 in the aftermath of those protests, which shook the country and saw him promise to change his way of governing.