Who Slapped French President Emmanuel Macron? Was the Attacker a Royalist or Anarchist?

French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face during a walkabout in southern France on Tuesday.

Video footage circulating on social media showed Macron walking up to a metal barrier to meet and greet people during a trip to the village of Tain-l'Hermitage. As the relaxed president greets supporters and talks to them, a person in a green t-shirt suddenly grabs him by the arm and then slaps him across the face.


What Happened?

The President's security detail suddenly pulled him away to safety, following which the attacker was wrestled onto the ground and taken away in a police vehicle.

"Around 1:15 pm (1115 GMT), the president got back into his car after visiting a high school and came back out because onlookers were calling out to him. He went to meet them and that's where the incident happened," the office of the regional prefecture said in a statement.

"The man who tried to slap the president and another individual are currently being questioned by the gendarmerie," the statement added.

French media said two men have been arrested. "One is thought to have described himself as an anarchist, but an enquiry is ongoing," a police spokesman said, according to the Daily Mail.

At the same time, the Royalist slogan 'Montjoie Saint Denis!' was also heard when the attack happened.

Montjoie Saint Denis! used to be the battle-cry of the Kingdom of France. The phrase is a derivation from the Germanic 'mund gawi', which means a 'pile of stones'. The phrase supposedly refers to Charlemagne's legendary banner the Oriflamme. The banner kept at the Abbey of Saint Denis was known as the "Montjoie".

Seeking Re-election

French presidential elections are a year away, but President Macron has started to hit the campaign trail. Tuesday's events were part of a 'Tour of France' that Macron has kickstarted, eying a second term in office.

The president continued the walkabout for some more time, meeting and talking to people. The 43-year-old president, a centrist, is all but seeking re-election and has a thin lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen, according to the opinion polls.