French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face while visiting a small town in southeast France on Tuesday, and two men have been arrested in connection with the incident.
In a video circulating on social media, Macron is seen approaching a metal railing to greet a bystander in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage when the bystander slapped the president in the face.
Macron’s security detail immediately pulled him away from the railing and tackled the man, who was wearing a green shirt, glasses and a face mask.
The bystander and another man, both 28, who accompanied him were detained by the police, according to French news broadcaster BFM TV.
Macron was visiting the area to talk about his country loosening COVID-19 restrictions. The Associated Press reports that Macron had visited a high school that was training students to work in hotels and restaurants before the attack.
Far-right opponent Marine Le Pen condemned Macron’s attack on Twitter, stating that “it is inadmissible to physically attack the President of the Republic.”
Speaking at the National Assembly, Prime Minister Jean Castex said “through the head of state, that’s democracy that has been targeted,” in comments prompting loud applause from lawmakers from all ranks, standing up in a show of support, the Associated Press reports.
“Democracy is about debate, dialogue, confrontation of ideas, expression of legitimate disagreements, of course, but in no case it can be violence, verbal assault and even less physical assault,” Castex said.