French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a male citizen during a public appearance, prompting the police to arrest two civilians connected to the attack.
The incident was caught on video which showed the man in a crowd gathered in Tain-l'Hermitage found in the southeastern part of France slapping the French leader. The suspect was seen wearing a green T-shirt and glasses.
In the recording, the male suspect could be heard shouting, "Down with Macronia" in the French language before smacking Macron in the face. Security personnel with the French president quickly responded and tackled the man to the ground while escorting Macron to a secure location.
Afterward, Macron visited another city nearby, Valence, and said he was always ready to meet the citizens of France. The French president was with his wife Brigitte Macron during the visit. He also said there are many people who expressed their anger and feelings in violent acts. He assured everyone that the government would continue to deal with these types of citizens properly.
In a statement, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the violent act was a complete contrast to what democracy was about. Castex told the National Assembly shortly after the incident that democracy must never include violence, verbal aggression, and physical attacks even there is a legitimate disagreement between different parties.
While the French government said there have been attempts to assault Macron, it did not reveal additional information regarding the matter.
After the Attack
National Assembly member and leader of the far-left party, La France Insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon, posted on social media expressing his support of President Macron, Yahoo News reported. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen also publicly expressed her disagreement with using violence and physical attacks in trying to prove a point. Former France president, Francois Hollande, posted on Twitter condemning the attack. He also urged the people of the country to support Macron in these circumstances.
The current French president is touring the Drome region found in the southeastern parts of France to meet and speak with students, restaurateurs, and small business owners. His agenda is to discuss the people's return to normal life after the COVID-19 pandemic.
CNBC reported that shortly before Macron was attacked, he was visiting a professional high school that educates and trains students to become professionals in the hospitality industry. French authorities have not yet revealed the identity or motive of the man responsible for slapping the president. During the encounter, he could be heard shouting "Montjoie Saint-Denis," a battle cry used by French army soldiers in the times of Monarchy.
Despite the attack, officials said Macron will continue his tour of the region on Tuesday, which includes a tour to a vocational institute for 25-to-30-year-olds. Macron's visit followed the night when French bars and restaurants were first allowed to reopen after seven months of closing down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
French authorities also decided to change overnight curfew hours from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. starting on Wednesday. After visiting the hotel school, Macron posted on Twitter about how life in the country will slowly come back to normal, BBC reported.
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