Two men were arrested for an unprecedented assault on the President of the French Republic during a meeting with citizens. Around 2:40 pm Emmanuel Macron, visiting the Drme department in the South of France, he left the hotel high school of Tain-l’Hermitage and got into his car for Valence, where he was expected for lunch. He wanted to stop a few meters later to go and greet a group of citizens who came to greet him. Macron approached the barriers to shake hands, offered his arm to a man who he grabbed it with his left hand, and that with the right gave him a slap in the face, shouting some words among which are distinguished A bas la Macronie, Down with Macronia (that is, the system of power around Macron, according to the expression used by his detractors), and Montjoie Saint-Denis, a medieval war cry used as a slogan from the extreme right-wing monarchy.
The president was immediately removed by security men, and the man who hit him was arrested along with an accomplice. Sources from the Elysée underline that the exchanges with the crowd continue, the handshakes are immediately resumed, the visit continues.
Just a few minutes earlier Macron had held a press conference by launching a call for calm in political life and social: Democratic life needs calm and respect, from everyone, from political leaders as well as from citizens. In a democracy, contrary opinions can be freely expressed on the street, in newspapers, on television, and at regular intervals in the polls. In return, there is an end to violence and hatred. If hatred and violence return, they weaken democracy. So I urge everyone to respect and calm down. An appeal evidently unheard by his attacker.
The slap in the face of Macron is arousing enormous emotion in France, the president began a few days ago a kind of Tour de France, a series of visits to the French province to get in direct contact with citizens. During the revolt of the yellow vests, which began in November 2018 and is now effectively over, in addition to the riots, accidents, damage and thousands of wounded, there were threats against the government and in particular against President Macron, accused of be part of an elite far from the people. The Tour de France was decided in part to respond to these criticisms, and to begin preparing the candidacy for a second presidential term, in view of the run to the Elysée in spring 2022.
He first Jean Castex who was answering the questions of the deputies on the action of the government in the National Assembly interrupted the program and called the country to a republican jolt, we are all involved. Politics cannot be violence, neither verbal nor physical, it is about democracy. Solidarity also from the opposition, from Marine Le Pen (Rassemblement national) – I strongly condemn the intolerable physical aggression aimed at the President of the Republic – to Jean-Luc Mlenchon (La France Insoumise).
Are you starting to understand this time that the violent are taking action ?, said Mlenchon, referring to the video he had denounced a few hours earlier, in which a far-right influencer, Papacito, stages the execution of a leftist, a leftist militant. The slap at Macron fits into a context of great nervousness, between the enthusiasm for the progressive reopening of shops, restaurants, cinemas and for a return to almost normal post-Covid, and the aggravation induced by the pandemic of the economic and identity fractures that cross French society.