PARIS • French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face yesterday by a man in a crowd of onlookers while on a walkabout in southern France, a video clip of the incident showed.
Mr Macron's security entourage quickly intervened to pull the man to the ground and move Mr Macron away from him. Two people were arrested in connection with the incident, broadcasters BFM TV and RMC radio reported.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the incident was an affront to democracy.
The incident took place while Mr Macron was on a visit to the Drome region in south-eastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid-19 epidemic.
In a video clip circulating on social media, Mr Macron, dressed in shirt sleeves, can be seen walking towards a crowd of people behind a metal barrier. The President then reaches out his hand to greet a man in a green T-shirt with glasses and a face mask.
The man can be heard shouting out "Down with Macronia" ("A Bas La Macronie") before he delivers a slap to Mr Macron's face.
Two of Mr Macron's security detail tackle him, while another ushers the President away.
But Mr Macron remained in the vicinity of the crowd for a few more seconds, and appeared to be talking to someone on the other side of the barriers.
The presidential administration said there had been an attempt to strike Mr Macron, but declined further comment.
The identity and motives of the man who slapped Mr Macron were unclear.
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.