French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face as he shook hands in a crowd during a visit Tuesday to a small town in southern France. Two men, both age 28, have been arrested. They risk three years in prison and a $50,000 fine over an attack on a public official.
The scene, which was filmed, shows Macron working a rope line in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage. While shaking Macron’s hand, a man is able to slap the president’s face before security intervenes.
French media said the two arrested are identified with the yellow vest movement — the mostly white, working-class protests that dogged Macron politically and personally during much of 2018 and 2019.
The man who slapped the president yelled, “Montjoie Saint-Denis, à bas la Macronie.”Part of the phrase is a 12th century royalist slogan that today has become a rallying cry of the far right. The other part means “down with Macronism.”
Several hours afterward, Macron played down the incident in an interview with a local newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré. “Everything is fine,” he said.