Two arrested after French President Macron slapped during crowd walkabout

French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a protective face mask visits a child psychiatry department at Reims hospital to discuss the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown on children and teenagers in France

French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a protective face mask visits a child psychiatry department at Reims hospital to discuss the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown on children and teenagers in France

French President Emmanuel Macron reached out for a handshake, while on a regional tour, but received a high-five to the face instead on Tuesday, 8 June, when a man in southeast France slapped him across the face.

The video shows a man slapping Macron in the face and his bodyguards pushing the man away as the French leader quickly leaves the scene.

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

Macron was in La Drôme to meet restaurant owners, ahead of Wednesday's easing of Covid-19 restrictions in France.

"Politics can never be violence, verbal aggression, much less physical aggression", Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament after the latest incident.

Elysee Palace later confirmed to local media that the incident took place and indicated that two people were arrested in connection with the altercation.

French media later described the attacker as an "anarchist".

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

Xavier Bertrand, a member of the centre-right Les Repupicains, also commented on the attack saying, "No political disagreement will ever justify violence".

Le Pen echoed the prime minister's sentiments, tweeting that acts of violence against the president are "unacceptable".

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 visiting a town in southeastern France as part of a whistle-stop tour of the country.

The centrist is widely expected to seek re-election in next year's presidential elections and polls show him with a narrow lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

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