Two men have been arrested after French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face while visiting the south-east of the country.
A video circulating on social media shows Macron getting slapped by a man after approaching a metal barrier . The incident occurred during a trip to Tain-l’Hermitage outside the city of Valence.
The footage, which has been taken down on many sites, then shows a man in a green t-shirt slapping the president before ‘Down with Macron-ism’ is shouted. Security then intervene and the president is rushed away.
Check out the shocking video below:
Macron actually returned to the barrier where the incident happened and conversed with the crowd before leaving.
The reason for the action is unclear, but it is evident that the individual had an issue with Macron himself. To gain a further understanding of the event, the police of the local prefecture have arrested the attacker and another person. They are now being questioned.
In the wake of the incident, an increased police force was seen on the president’s visit. Journalist Marie Chantrait noted, ‘[translated into English] After being slapped… big police deployment in the streets of Valence as the president arrives’.
— Marie Chantrait (@mchantrait) June 8, 2021
Politicians have spoken out about the violence captured in the footage. Prime Minister Jean Castex told the National Assembly that violence should never be a solution in a democracy, and noted that debate should be how people overcome disagreements. As per the BBC, Castex added that differing opinions ‘must never, in any case, mean violence, verbal aggression and even less physical attack’.
The far-right and far-left have also found themselves in agreement over the situation. Leftist leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon stated ‘solidarity with the president’ after the incident, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen also denounced the action. Le Pen wrote, ‘While democratic debate can be bitter, it can never tolerate physical violence.’
Macron is currently visiting parts of France as he plans to ease coronavirus restrictions in the country. French bars and restaurants will allow customers to sit inside as of tomorrow, and curfew will be pushed back from 9pm to 11pm.
Writing about the regulation changes Macron tweeted:
Tomorrow, a new step will be taken. Life will resume in all our territories!
With that said, the two men arrested in connection to the slapping may miss out on this reopening of pubs and restaurants.
Featured Image Credit: AlexpLille/Twitter