French President Macron will take part in a video conference on the climate summit on April 22, 2021 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
Ian Langsdon | Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face and police arrested two men, a spokesman for the National Gendarmerie told NBC News on Tuesday.
A popular video clip shows a masked man shouting “Down with Macronia” in French before swinging his open palm in the president’s face.
The two suspects were arrested after the incident that occurred during Macron’s visit to a school in southeastern France, NBC reported.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex condemned political violence and aggression as undemocratic on Tuesday.
“I am calling for a renewal of the republic,” Castex tweeted in French.
The trip to the Tain Hermitage School, which specializes in catering, took place on the eve of the French government lifting restrictions on indoor dining and other measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
Macron should meet with representatives from the restaurant industry, NBC reported.
The video of the incident shows Macron wearing a black mask and approaching a crowd on the other side of a partition. Macron appears to be patting the next person in the crowd, a man in a green T-shirt and white mask, on the forearm.
When Marcon seems to start crawling down the line of onlookers, the man slaps the president in the face, as the video shows. Shortly before the slap, the man shouts “Montjoie Saint Denis”, the battle cry of the former French monarchy, and “A Bas La Macronie”, which roughly translated means “Down with Macron’s kingdom”.
Bodyguards for Macron immediately swarmed the man and pushed the president away from him. According to the video, Macron returned to greet the crowd further down the line.
The suspects are on remand and the French authorities are investigating the case, NBC reported. One person was arrested for the slap himself, while the role of the other suspect is still unclear, according to NBC.
In a tweet earlier on Tuesday, Macron had used the visit to the school in the Drome region to highlight the latest steps in his government’s Covid reopening plan.
As of Wednesday, curfews will be extended to 11 p.m. and indoor dining in restaurants and bistros will be allowed again, NBC reported. The remaining restrictions will be lifted at the end of June, depending on the prevalence of the pandemic in France at that time.
“Tomorrow a new step will be taken,” read a translation of Macron’s tweet. “It is life that will revive in all of our territories! It is part of our culture, our art of living that we will rediscover.”