WORLD / EUROPE
Man slaps Macron during visit to south of France college
Published: Jun 09, 2021 04:43 PM
French President Emmanuel Macron leaves the European Council building in the early morning during an EU summit in Brussels, on Monday. Photo: AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron leaves the European Council building in the early morning during an EU summit in Brussels, on Monday. Photo: AFP

A man slapped President Emmanuel Macron in the face on Tuesday during a walkabout in southern France.

Macron later said he had not feared for his safety, and that nothing would stop him carrying on with his job.

In a video circulating on social media, Macron reached out his hand to greet a man in a small crowd of onlookers standing behind a metal barrier as he visited a professional training college for the hospitality industry.

The man, who was dressed in a khaki T-shirt, then shouted "Down with Macronia" ("A Bas La Macronie") and slapped Macron on the left side of his face.

He could also be heard shouting "Montjoie Saint Denis," the battle cry of the French army when the country was still a monarchy.

Two of Macron's security detail tackled the man, and another ushered Macron away. Another video posted on Twitter showed that the president, a few seconds later, returned to the line of onlookers and resumed shaking hands.

The local mayor, Xavier Angeli, told franceinfo radio that Macron urged his security to "leave him, leave him" as the offender was being held to the ground.

Two people were arrested, a police source told Reuters. The identify of the man who slapped Macron, and his motives, were unclear.

The slogan the man shouted has been co-opted in the past few years by royalists and people on the far-right in France, Fiametta Venner, a political scientist who studies French extremists, told broadcaster BFMTV.

Reuters
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