French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man in a crowd — who yelled “down with Macron — as he spoke to the public during a visit to southeast France on Tuesday, video of the incident posted on social media showed.
The footage, shared by CNN-affiliate BFM, showed Macron walking up to a metal fence and clasping the arm of a man in the crowd as he began to greet onlookers.
The man, while gripping Macron’s arm, then slapped the president across his left cheek.
Macron’s security detail quickly intervened, tackling the man while pulling the president away from the metal barrier.
Macron was in La Drôme to meet restaurant owners, ahead of Wednesday’s easing of Covid-19 restrictions in France.
“A man indeed tried to hit the President of the Republic,” the Elysee said in a statement to CNN.
“We have no further comments at this point. Exchanges with the crowd and handshakes resumed. The trip continues.”
Who protects President Macron?
French presidents are protected by the Security Group for the Presidency of the Republic, known as GSPR.
It was set up in 1983 and is reportedly composed of 77 men and women to protect Mr Macron during events.
According to French TV channel BFM, officers scout locations before a presidential visit. Armed personnel are then assigned to closely guard the president on the trip itself.
The channel reports that 10 members of the GSPR were with Mr Macron on Tuesday’s trip.
Additional reporting by BBC