Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)– French President Emmanuel Macron said, in his first comment after the slap he received on Tuesday, that he had no time to be afraid, stressing that expressing an opinion is acceptable, but “stupidity and violence” have no place in democracy.
Macron received a slap while shaking hands with a number of citizens during a visit he made to the southeastern French province of Drome, southeastern France, where he was visiting restaurant owners in the region on the occasion of easing restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the Corona virus.
Asked by reporters if he was afraid, Macron said: “I didn’t have time. But listen, we have to stand with our restaurants, and that’s why I came here, with our farmers before the restaurants reopen. We must not let that get in the way of the message, we must.” To support the French people with the reopening. There is a great deal of goodwill, in spite of everything.”
In response to another question from journalists that there is also anger towards the policies of the Macron government, the French president said: “No, there is stupidity. There is stupidity and when stupidity unites with violence, this is unacceptable, and this is another thing, this should not be confused with that.”
Macron added: “I hear anger. Anger is expressed in democracy. You know, I will always meet people. I am always in touch and interested. People express their anger to me and sometimes their displeasure and I am always there. Sometimes I find the answer, other times I don’t, I try to build it.” Sometimes I get it wrong, other times I get it right. This is legitimate anger and we will always be there to answer it. But no to stupidity and violence in democracy.”
And on whether he takes the slap personally, Macron said: “No, not at all. I think that there are people who are very tired in these times and we must never give in to violence and especially to violence against all representatives of public affairs, whether they are mayors, whether they are officials The civil service, whether they are the ones who are committed to public affairs. And we shouldn’t give it too much importance in the media either.”
He added, “It is essential to be inflexible when it comes to values. In a democracy, there is no place for hatred and violence, and we should not give it much space because we end up thinking that it is ubiquitous in society, which is not true. Everything is in its rightful place.”