Macron slapped during appearance in small French town

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face on Tuesday during an appearance in southeast France.

In videos posted online, Macron can be seen approaching a crowd of people waiting behind a partition. When he goes to shake the hand of an individual in front, the man slaps him in the face, causing Macron’s security to pull the president back and rush to grab the man.

According to The Associated Press, the incident took place in the small town of Tain-l’Hermitage. The video was taken after Macron had visited a high school where students were being trained to work in hotels and restaurants. This visit was part of Macron’s “tour de France” meant to “feel the pulse of the country.”

Two people have been detained in connection to the incident.

The AP notes that the attack against France’s head of state comes as many local French elected officials have faced violence, harassment and death threats in recent years. 

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at the French National Assembly on Tuesday that “through the head of state, that’s democracy that has been targeted.” This remark elicited a round of applause from the French lawmakers, the AP reports.

“Democracy is about debate, dialogue, confrontation of ideas, expression of legitimate disagreements, of course, but in no case it can be violence, verbal assault and even less physical assault,” Castex added.

Far-right French political leader Marine Le Pen, whom Macron faced off against in the 2017 presidential election before she conceded, condemned the attack as “intolerable physical aggression.”

“I am the 1st opponent to Emmanuel #Macron, but he is the president: we can fight him politically, but we cannot allow the slightest violence towards him,” Le Pen tweeted in French.

Tags Emmanuel Macron Emmanuel Macron France French people Jean Castex

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