President Macron is SLAPPED in the face during walkabout in France

Emmanuel Macron has been slapped across the face during a walkabout to greet voters in southern France.

The man, who took the French President by the arm, shouted: ‘Down with Macronia’ (‘A Bas La Macronie’) as he delivered the blow.

Bodyguards quickly seized upon the assailant and bundled him to the ground, as one of Macron’s security detail pulled the president to safety. 

Two men were arrested following the incident outside a culinary school in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region where Macron had been meeting students to discuss how life is returning to normal after the Covid restrictions were eased.

The attack represents a serious security breach and overshadows the start of Macron’s ‘Tour de France’ which he said was designed to ‘take the pulse of the nation.’

‘Around 1.15pm, the president got back into his car after visiting a high school and came back out because onlookers were calling out to him,’ the regional prefecture said in a statement. ‘He went to meet them and that’s where the incident happened.’ 

No motive was given but a police spokesman said that one of the men arrested ‘described himself as an anarchist.’ 

Some of Macron’s fiercest political rivals swiftly came to his defence, including Marine Le Pen who called the violence ‘intolerable.’

Le Pen, who is hoping to topple the 43-year-old in next year’s election, told a press conference: ‘It is inadmissible to physically attack the President of the Republic. I am the first opponent of Emmanuel Macron, but he is the president. We can fight him politically, but we cannot allow the slightest violence towards him.’ 

Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the left-wing La France Insoumise group, tweeted: ‘I stand in solidarity with the President.’

Just a few minutes after the attack, Macron’s ally, Prime Minister Jean Castex, took the floor of the National Assembly where he warned of attacks on ‘the foundations of democracy.’

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.

OW REVOIR: French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped across the face by a man during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday, an aide said.

The man appears to gesture Macron over for a discussion before lashing out and striking him in the face

The man appears to gesture Macron over for a discussion before lashing out and striking him in the face

The man appears to gesture Macron over for a discussion before lashing out and striking him in the face

The man appears to gesture Macron over for a discussion before lashing out and striking him in the face

SHOW HIM NO MERCI: The man appears to gesture Macron over for a discussion before lashing out and striking him in the face

Security guards move in to defend the president

Security guards move in to defend the president

A scrum of security personnel swiftly intervene, bundling the assailant to the ground and heaving Macron away to safety

A scrum of security personnel swiftly intervene, bundling the assailant to the ground and heaving Macron away to safety

RIGHT IN THE FRENCH KISSER: A scrum of security personnel swiftly intervene, bundling the assailant to the ground and heaving Macron away to safety

Macron and the assailant were briefly clinched in what appeared to be a Roman handshake before he was suddenly slapped across the cheek

Macron and the assailant were briefly clinched in what appeared to be a Roman handshake before he was suddenly slapped across the cheek

The assailant draws back his hand and prepares to strike

The assailant draws back his hand and prepares to strike

CLOCKED MONSIEUR: Macron and the assailant were briefly clinched in what appeared to be a Roman handshake before he was suddenly slapped across the cheek

Former President Francois Hollande tweeted: ‘To attack the President of the Republic is to deal an unbearable and intolerable blow to our institutions. Faced with this unspeakable gesture, the whole Nation must show solidarity with the Head of State. In these circumstances, I address all my support to Emmanuel Macron.’

In video circulating on social media, Macron, dressed in shirt sleeves, could be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers who were behind a metal barrier outside the culinary school.

The French president reached out his hand to greet one man, in a green T-Shirt, with glasses and a face mask. 

‘Mr Macron appeared very relaxed and thought he was getting a good reception from those watching him,’ said an eye-witness.

‘He was outside a catering school when he stuck his right hand towards a man who promptly grabbed it.

‘Then the man slapped the President in the face, before Mr Macron was pulled away by security guards.’ 

Two of Macron’s security detail tackled the man in the green T-shirt, while another ushered Macron away.

But Macron remained in the vicinity of the crowd for a few more seconds, and appeared to return to the barriers to get a word in, although it was unclear what he was saying. 

A local police spokesman confirmed that two men had been arrested at the scene of the attack.

‘One is thought to have described himself as an anarchist, but an enquiry is ongoing’ said the spokesman.

The presidential administration said there had been an attempt to strike Macron, but declined further comment. 

A few minutes before the attack, Macron had launched an appeal for ‘peace across France’, and called for people to ‘respect one another’.

He told journalists: ‘Democratic life needs calm and respect, from everybody involved – from political leaders and citizens like.

‘In a democracy, opponents can express themselves freely, on the street, in the press, on television, and through the ballot box. 

‘The benefit of all this is that it puts an end to violent and hatred. If hatred and violence come back they weaken one thing, and that is democracy, and that’s why I’m urging everybody to respect each other and remain calm’. 

Some of Macron's fiercest critics, including Marine Le Pen, swiftly denounced the attack on social media

Some of Macron's fiercest critics, including Marine Le Pen, swiftly denounced the attack on social media

Some of Macron’s fiercest critics, including Marine Le Pen, swiftly denounced the attack on social media

Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the left-wing La France Insoumise group, said he stood in 'solidarity' with his political rival following the slap

Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the left-wing La France Insoumise group, said he stood in 'solidarity' with his political rival following the slap

Jean-Luc Melenchon, of the left-wing La France Insoumise group, said he stood in ‘solidarity’ with his political rival following the slap

Former President Francois Hollande tweeted: 'To attack the President of the Republic is to deal an unbearable and intolerable blow to our institutions. Faced with this unspeakable gesture, the whole Nation must show solidarity with the Head of State. In these circumstances, I address all my support to Emmanuel Macron.'

Former President Francois Hollande tweeted: 'To attack the President of the Republic is to deal an unbearable and intolerable blow to our institutions. Faced with this unspeakable gesture, the whole Nation must show solidarity with the Head of State. In these circumstances, I address all my support to Emmanuel Macron.'

Former President Francois Hollande tweeted: ‘To attack the President of the Republic is to deal an unbearable and intolerable blow to our institutions. Faced with this unspeakable gesture, the whole Nation must show solidarity with the Head of State. In these circumstances, I address all my support to Emmanuel Macron.’

The Royalist slogan ‘Montjoie Saint Denis!’ was also heard during today’s attack.

The ‘Montjoie Saint Denis’ was the banner of Charlemagne, the King of the Franks in the 8th Century, and it was kept in the Basilica of Saint Denis, which exists to this day.

Today’s swearing was reminiscent of the kind used in 2008 by the then conservative President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, when he was attacked at a farming fair in Paris.

A video clip showed a man refusing to shake Mr Sarkozy’s hand, and shouting ‘Oh no, don’t touch me, you’ll dirty me.’

Mr Sarkozy snapped back: ‘Get lost arsehole, just get lost’.

Mr Sarkozy later said that he regretted using such unpresidential language.

Mr Macron is in his fourth year of office, and is hoping to be re-elected for a second five year term next year.

His main opponent at the moment is Marine Le Pen, the far-Right leader of the Rassemblement National (National Rally) party.

In November 2018 six activists linked to the far Right were arrested in connection with a ‘violent plot’ against Mr Macron.

The six were picked up by anti-terrorism units in the eastern French regions of Moselle and Isère.

And in July 2017, a 23-year-old far-Right extremist was charged with plotting to assassinate Mr Macron at France’s Bastille Day military parade, which the French leader attended with the US president, Donald Trump.

The suspected said he wanted to kill Macron at the 14 July national day parade in Paris, along with ‘Muslims, Jews, blacks and homosexuals’.

Three kitchen knives were found in his car and analysis of his computer found that he had conducted web searches as part of his plot. 

It is not the first time that Mr Macron has been attacked by angry crowd members while out in public.

In 2016 – before he became President a year later – Mr Macron was pelted with eggs by Communist Party members outside a post office in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. 

Macron is currently on a ‘Tour de France’ to ‘take the pulse of the country,’ according to the Elysee Palace.

His opponents see it as a campaigning effort two weeks out from regional elections and less than a year from the presidential election. 

Macron’s popularity has taken a massive hit throughout the pandemic, a recent poll by Le Monde showing 43 per cent support for Macron’s closest rival Le Pen, compared to 57 per cent for the president.

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte before a lunch in Valence on Tuesday

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte before a lunch in Valence on Tuesday

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte before a lunch in Valence on Tuesday

Macron had been attending a culinary lesson during Tuesday's visit to Tain-l'Hermitage Hospitality School not long before he was attacked

Macron had been attending a culinary lesson during Tuesday's visit to Tain-l'Hermitage Hospitality School not long before he was attacked

Macron had been attending a culinary lesson during Tuesday’s visit to Tain-l’Hermitage Hospitality School not long before he was attacked

Two people were arrested following the incident in the village of Tain-l'Hermitage in the Drome region where Macron had been meeting restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid restrictions were eased

Two people were arrested following the incident in the village of Tain-l'Hermitage in the Drome region where Macron had been meeting restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid restrictions were eased

Two people were arrested following the incident in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region where Macron had been meeting restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the Covid restrictions were eased

Public dissatisfaction has been compounded by his bungled vaccine programme, that has seen him brazenly claiming the AstraZeneca jab is only ‘quasi-effective’ and leading a shambolic EU offensive to try and lay the blame at Britain’s door.

The voters disdain for the EU has increased, leaving Macron more isolated as Le Pen gains ground. 

Two polls carried out in April by IFOP (the independent French Institute of Public Opinion) showed that only 35 per cent of voters trusted the government’s actions during the pandemic, while only 45 per cent saw Macron as suitable for presidential office.

Impatience with the president has been fuelled not just by the glacial vaccine roll-out but also by his apparent contradictions of scientific advice, with rivals referring to him as a ‘Napoleon’ and accusing the president of believing that he is an epidemiologist.

Adding to his woes, voting intentions for Le Pen’s party have not been this positive since her father Jean-Marie Le Pen’s campaign in 2002, when he reached the second round of the presidential election.

The right-wing party is ranking ahead of any other party in France among the 25-34 age group, who have faced unemployment and soaring costs of student loans.

Many of the younger age groups had already turned against Macron in the Yellow Vest protests of 2018, the pandemic only hardening their positions.  

Link hienalouca.com

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