French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped on the face during an official visit to the South-east of France.
The incident happened at 1:15 pm while Macron was at Tain-l'Hermitage, some 90 kilometers to the South of Lyon. Euronews reports that Macron had come to visit Drôme hospitality school after which he decided to greet onlookers who were calling him. He is seen walking up to a person and clasping his arm, at which point he gets slapped on the face.
The man reportedly slapped the French President while yelling for an end of Macronie - a disparaging rehash of the name Macron often used by the French press. wearing a green shirt, glasses and a face mask he can be heard shouting “Montjoie Saint Denis” a battle cry used by the French armies while it was still a monarchy.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 9, 2021
French media reported that two people were apprehended over the incident. They are reportedly being held at the Tain-L'Hermitage gendarmerie.
In a conversation with French newspaper Le Dauphiné, Macron was resolute that “ultra-violent people” should not be allowed to take over the public debate. He went further to add “they do not deserve it.”
In the video, Macron returned back to the barrier and interacted further with the crowd. He told Le Dauphiné “I will continue.”
President Macron’s security detail
The GSPR is the body protecting all French Presidents. Set up in 1983, it comprises 77 men and women whose main role is Macron’s security during events.
According to BFM, the French TV Channel, officers will scout an area prior to the President’s arrival. Armed personnel will then guard the president closely during that trip. During Tuesday's incident, 10 GSPR members guarded Mr. Macron.
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Immediate reactions from lawmakers showed a swift denouncement of the incident. Jean Castex, the country’s Prime Minister told the National Assembly that democracy and legitimate disagreement should at no point mean “violence, verbal aggression and even less physical attack.”
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Marine Le Pen, the National Rally leader expressed her condemnation of the incident saying while democratic debate can be bitter, “it can never tolerate physical violence.” She went further to describe the behavior as “deeply deplorable in a democracy."
Si le débat démocratique peut être âpre, il ne saurait en aucun cas tolérer la violence physique. Je condamne fermement l’agression physique intolérable qui a visé le président de la République. MLP #Tain
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 8, 2021
Francois Hollande, the former French President took to Twitter to describe the incident as an “unbearable and intolerable blow to our institutions.”
Agresser le Président de la République c’est porter un coup insupportable et intolérable à nos institutions. Face à ce geste inqualifiable, toute la Nation doit être solidaire du chef de l’Etat. J’adresse dans ces circonstances tout mon soutien à @EmmanuelMacron.
— François Hollande (@fhollande) June 8, 2021