French President Emmanuel Macron slapped in the face during Drome visit

French President Emmanuel Macron has been slapped in the face during an official visit to southern France.

Bodyguards tacked the offender, who had hit the president after shouting “down with Macron” and other royalist battle cries.

Mr Macron’s security entourage quickly ushered the leader away.

Two people were arrested in connection with the slap, broadcasters BFM TV and RMC radio reported.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex called the incident an affront to democracy.

Mr Macron, his wife Brigitte and their entourage had been on a visit to the Drome region in southeastern France, to meet restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the COVID-19 epidemic.

In video circulating on social media, the president could be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers who were behind a metal barrier in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage.

He reached out his hand to greet one man who wore a a green T-shirt, with glasses and a face mask.

The man could be heard shouting out “a bas la Macronie” (“Down with Macronia”) before slapping the president.

 

The local mayor, Xavier Angeli, told franceinfo radio that Mr Macron had urged his security to “leave him, leave him” while the offender was being held to the ground.

Mr Macron said he had not feared for his safety and that nothing would stop him performing his duties.

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

The offender’s motivations remain 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.

France24 reports that royalist call was also cried out by someone who threw a cream pie at far-left lawmaker Éric Coquerel in 2018.

At the time, the extreme-right, monarchist group Action Française took responsibility for the pie incident.

-with AAP

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