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Ouch! Emmanuel Macron Slapped In the Face during Walkabout

Ouch! Emmanuel Macron Slapped In the Face during Walkabout
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By Staff, Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man during a walkabout in southern France.

The president’s security detail immediately pulled the man to the ground and moved Macron away from the crowd, though he appeared unhurt and determined to continue meeting the public.

Afterwards, Macron said the assault was “an isolated act” that should be “put into perspective.”

“We mustn’t let ultra-violent individuals take over the public debate … There can be no violence, no hatred, not in speech or action. Otherwise it’s democracy itself that is threatened.”

A video of the incident showed the president, in a white shirt and tie, approach onlookers waiting behind metal barriers at Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drôme department.

Macron, wearing a mask, was seen reaching out to shake hands with a man in a green T-shirt wearing glasses and a mask.

Reuters reported the man was heard shouting “à bas la Macronie” [down with Macronism] before he grabbed the president’s right arm and delivered a slap to the left side of his face. He was also reported to have shouted “Montjoie Saint Denis”, the battle cry of the French armies when the country was a monarchy.

Two people have been arrested in connection with the assault, according to reports, and are being held for “deliberate violence against a person of public authority.”

Talking to the local newspaper, the Dauphiné Libéré, later, Macron said: “We must not let this overshadow the other issues that are so important to the lives of so many.”

Asked if he felt the political climate was deteriorating, the president replied: “No, I don’t want isolated individuals or those who go to extremes to somehow make people forget the rest. The French people are a republican people. The overwhelming majority of French people are interested in the fundamental problems.

“Let’s not let isolated events, the kind of ultra-violent individuals we also see in some demonstrations, take over the public debate. They don’t deserve it.”

Macron said it would not stop him meeting ordinary people on his visits and he had “no apprehensions at all.”

“In fact, I went on and greeted the people present who were next to the man and I took photos with them. I carried on and I will carry on. Nothing will stop me,” he said.