The predecessors of Emmanuel Macron were also jostled during walkabouts. Nothing comparable with the five attempted attacks against General de Gaulle, and later that against Jacques Chirac.
Emmanuel Macron was slapped on Tuesday, June 8 in the middle of the day, by a man during a trip between Tain-l’Hermitage and Valence. A shock in the middle of onlookers, filmed by many phones as the Head of State was about to shake his hand. A difficult situation to anticipate, feared by all security officers. This aggression, however, is not a first at the head of state.
On July 14, 2002 at dawn, a 25-year-old far-right activist, Maxime Brunerie, hides a 22 long rifle in a guitar case. On the top of the Champs-Élysées, in the morning, he slips into the middle of onlookers, security still being at the time, quite loose. He shoots but misses his target when Jacques Chirac gets to his level. The head of state did not realize anything. He will later confess to having heard “ a noise of a firecracker “. The activist for his part, will be put out of harm’s way by spectators who came to attend the parade. “We quickly realized that this was not a Petit-Clamart type affair. There wasn’t a whole organization behind it. So Chirac took the event with the peace of mind of an old soldier and never spoke to me about it again ”, General Henri Bentégeat, who was then his particular chief of staff, testified.
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Five attempted attacks against General de Gaulle
The affair, as serious as it was, was in fact in no way comparable to the attack organized by the OAS against General de Gaulle in 1962, which almost cost him his life. A few weeks after the end of the Algerian war, on August 22 of that year, a commando of opponents to the independence of Algeria led by Lieutenant-Colonel Bastien-Thiry, will open fire on the DS presidential election at Petit-Clamart, near Villacoublay airport (Yvelines).
General de Gaulle will be the target in all of five attempted attacks, one of which, the previous year, on September 8, 1961 in Pont-sur-Seine (Aube). A gas cylinder deposited by the same activists and filled with plastic will explode as his car passes by, without causing a victim.
François Hollande floured
Without ever affecting their lives, other former presidents have also been heckled during their five-year term, sometimes violently. In 2011, Nicolas Sarkozy was briefly pulled by the jacket by a stranger during a trip to Lot-et-Garonne, Brax, for a general meeting of mayors of the department.
François Hollande was also targeted. Thus, during the movement against marriage for all, in 2014, Femen activists threw themselves on the former head of state. Before entering the Elysee Palace in February 2012, the Socialist received a bag of flour during a trip dedicated to housing at the Abbé Pierre Foundation. Like Manuel Valls, floured in 2016 in Strasbourg, in the midst of a campaign trip for his candidacy for the primary of the left, after his departure from Matignon. The former prime minister had also received a slap during a trip to Lamballe, at the very start of the previous mandate.
« In these cases, it is not so much the gesture that is violent, it is the image, the humiliation, reacts a former official of the State to the Figaro. Because it is the body of the President of the Republic, which must be respected, which is taken to task. Laughter is unbearable because it is the function that is injured. The solution, American style, would be to avoid walkabouts, which is obviously a shame. »
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