French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.
— ⚜️ (@AlexpLille) June 8, 2021
Images broadcast on the BFM news channel showed Macron approach a barrier to shake the hand of a man who slapped the 43-year-old across the face in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region.
According to Daily Sabah, the man, in a green T-Shirt, shouted “down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”) before delivering the slap.
Macron’s security then pulled the man to the ground. Two people have been arrested, according to AFP.
“The man who tried to slap the president and another individual are currently being questioned by the gendarmerie,” the regional prefecture said in a statement.
The incident in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region represents a serious security breach and overshadows the start of Macron’s tour which he said was designed to “take the country’s pulse.”
“Around 1:15 pm (1115 GMT), the president got back into his car after visiting a high school and came back out because onlookers were calling out to him,” the prefecture said.
“He went to meet them and that’s where the incident happened,” it added.
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.
Trip to South Africa
Macron was in South Africa two weeks ago on an official state visit. He was welcomed by his counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was joined by a ministerial delegation.
We welcome His Excellency President @EmmanuelMacron of the French Republic to the Union Buildings at whose heart is the Women’s Monument. The monument commemorates the role of women in the struggle for our liberation, the grinding stone signifying the power of women. #FranceInSA pic.twitter.com/nzl1hfwTpV
— Cyril Ramaphosa ???????? #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) May 28, 2021
According to the Presidency, the visit is aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership between South Africa and France, which is substantiated by a number of bilateral agreements in various areas of cooperation.