French President Emmanuel Macron has been slapped in the face during an official visit to the southeast of France. A man in a green T-shirt slaps Mr. Macron in the face, shouting the words "Down with Macron-ism" before officers quickly move in. Two people have been arrested after the ordeal.
French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face last Tuesday by a man during a visit to a small town in southeastern France, an incident that prompted a wide show of support for the head of state from politicians across the ideological spectrum.
A man in a green T-shirt slaps Mr. Macron in the face before officers quickly move in. The president, meanwhile, is pulled away.
Two men, both age 28, have been arrested. They risk three years in prison and a $50,000 fine over an attack on a public official.
The scene, which was filmed, shows Macron working a rope line in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage. While shaking Macron's hand, a man is able to slap the president's face before security intervenes.
President Macron later called it an "isolated event"."
We must not let ultra-violent people take over the public debate: they do not deserve it," he told French newspaper Le Dauphiné.
The slapper yelled, "Montjoie Saint-Denis, à bas la Macronie." Part of the phrase is a 12th-century royalist slogan that today has become a rallying cry of the far right. The other part means "down with Macronism."
The French president was greeting the public waiting for him behind barriers in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage after he visited a high school that is training students to work in hotels and restaurants. A video of the incident was posted to Twitter.
According to French TV channel BFM, 10 members of the GSPR were with Mr. Macron on Tuesday's trip.
As yet the identity and motive of the man are unclear. The local prefecture said he and another individual are being questioned by the gendarmerie, in a statement reported by the AFP news agency.
Officers were out in force on the streets of Valence shortly after the slap, according to one French journalist's tweet.
Several hours afterward, Macron played down the incident in an interview with a local newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré. "Everything is fine," he said. Macron further added that the country could not let a few ultraviolent individuals take over the public debate.