Atlanta, USA (CNN) – French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped while shaking hands with a number of citizens during a visit to southeastern France, the Elysee Palace confirmed in a statement to CNN Tuesday.
Pictures published by CNN’s “BFM” channel showed Macron walking past a metal barrier and shaking hands with residents of the village of Tan Lormitage in the Drôme province in southeastern France.
The man grabbed Macron’s hand and slapped the president in the left cheek as he shouted for an end to “Macronie”, the term for Macron’s presidency.
The French President’s bodyguards immediately intervened and knocked the man to the ground, and the guards pulled Macron away from the crowd.
The Elysee Palace said in a statement to CNN: “A man has already tried to hit the President of the Republic.”
Minutes before Macron was slapped, the attacker shouted “Montjole! Saint Denis,” a war cry used in the Middle Ages by the Capetian royal family at the time, the family that ruled France between the 10th and 18th centuries.
French police have arrested two 28-year-old men, one of whom was the man who beat Macron on charges of violence against a person holding a public office in French power, the Valence public prosecutor’s office told CNN.
Far-right leader Marilyn Le Pen condemned the attack on the French president, stressing that physical assault on Macron was “unacceptable” and said it was possible to attack him politically, but violence against him was condemned in the framework of democracy.
The French president was visiting restaurant owners in the southeastern region of France to mark the easing of restrictions imposed to prevent the outbreak of the Corona virus.