French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man he greeted on the other side of a security barrier during a Tuesday visit to the southeastern region of the country, Reuters reported.
BFM TV and RMC published a video clip, circulating on Twitter, which shows a man in a green T-Shirt, with glasses and a face mask, shout out "Down with Macronia" ("A Bas La Macronie") and then deliver a slap to Macron's face.
This comes as France's presidential elections are less than a year away and the country just weeks from regional elections on June 20 and June 27. But, two people have been arrested in connection with the incident, local media reports said.More news: DOJ recovers $2.3 mln of Colonial Pipeline's ransom
Video of the incident shows Macron, dressed in a white dress shirt, extending his arm toward a man dressed in a green shirt. "Saint-Denis!" - which was used as a medieval battle cry used by the Capetian royal dynasty, which ruled France from the 10th to the 18th century. At the time, the extreme-right, monarchist group Action Francaise, took responsibility for that action.
"Democracy is about debate, dialogue, confrontation of ideas, expression of legitimate disagreements, of course, but in no case can it be violence, verbal assault and even less physical assault", Castex said.
The embattled French leader, who has seen his approval rating drop from 48 percent to 38 percent over the last two years, falling behind opposition politician and National Rally leader Marine Le Pen in polling ahead of next year's presidential election, was assaulted during his "Tour of France" campaign, a pre-election "meet-the-people" event scheduled to last much of the summer.More news: Iranian Naval Vessel Sinks in Gulf of Oman after Fire
Visibly fuming, she said later that while Macron is her top political adversary, the assault was "deeply, deeply reprehensible".
Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon tweeted his "solidarity with the president" immediately after the slap. The term, used pejoratively, refers to Macron's rule.
A startling moment jolted an otherwise rousing political moment in France on Tuesday.More news: Teen Shoves Bear off Wall To Save Her Dogs in Viral Video
But France's well-protected head of state has been spared until now, which compounded the shockwaves that rippled through French politics in the wake of the attack.