A man slapped Emmanuel Macron in the face on Tuesday, briefly interrupting a passage during the French president’s tour of the provinces ahead of this month’s regional elections.
Two 28-year-old men were questioned by the gendarmerie after the audible blow – accompanied by a shout of the royalist slogan “Montjoie Saint-Denis!” and “It’s Macronism!” – It was sent by a man among a group of spectators in the southern city of Tain-l’Hermitage.
Macron’s Elysée Palace said a man had “tried to hit” the president, and that conversations and handshakes with the crowd resumed shortly after the incident and the visit continued.
Opposition parties have been strongly critical of Macron’s “Tour de France” ahead of regional elections on June 20 and 27, saying it used its presidential status to promote its La République party. en Marche without being subject to campaign funding limits.
His supporters have argued that he only wants to “take the pulse” of the French people to understand what he can achieve in the last year of his presidential term, which was marked earlier by the anti-government. yellow vests protests from 2018 and then from the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally Party and the politician who expects his main rival in next year’s presidential election, asked: “There is only one person in France who does not. Don’t you understand that Emmanuel Macron is taking advantage of his position as president to run for regional elections? ”
On Tuesday, however, politicians from across the spectrum gathered to condemn the act of violence against Macron.
Le Pen said the “behavior was unacceptable and would be condemned in a democracy,” while Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, usually a fierce critic of Macron, said it was solidarity with the president.
Shortly before the incident, Macron called for political calm. He reacted to Mélenchon’s prediction that there will be a “murder or serious incident” taking place in the last week of next year’s presidential election campaign to demonize Muslims, and to the subsequent publication by a right of a video that shows the simulated murder of a Mélenchon supporter.
“Opposition parties can express themselves freely in a democracy,” Macron said Tuesday, “but the other side is the end of violence and hatred…. The French need something else, they are.” tired of the crisis and bad news ”.
Although Macron is sometimes accused by his detractors of being arrogant and out of touch, he enjoys travel and arguments or conversations with passersby when traveling the country. He is known among his critics for telling a gardener visiting the Elysée on an open cultural day that he complained about the lack of work that could find a job in a restaurant or hotel alone. crossing the road.
Macron is not the first French president to be targeted with violence in a public place. Nicolas Sarkozy has sometimes been mistreated and sometimes manipulated. And during the July 2002 national day parade, a far-right militant tried to shoot Jacques Chirac with a .22 rifle, but failed and was later jailed.