Two people have been arrested after French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face by a man while visiting the commune of Tain-l'Hermitage on Tuesday, an incident that has been widely condemned by political party leaders.
Macron's security detail immediately rushed in to detain the man, with local gendarmerie also stepping in to assist.
The French president can be seen greeting the public waiting for him behind barriers in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage after he visited a high school that is training students to work in hotels and restaurants.
However, as soon as he got close to the man, the unidentified man slapped the French leader across the face. 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.
"Around 1:15 pm (1115 GMT), the president got back into his auto after visiting a high school and came back out because onlookers were calling out to him", the prefecture said.
"He went to meet them and that's where the incident happened", it added.
His opponents see it as a campaigning effort two weeks out from regional elections and less than a year from the presidential election.
Shortly before being slapped, Macron had been asked to comment on recent remarks from far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon who suggested at the weekend that next year's election would be manipulated.
"Democratic life needs calm and respect, from everyone, politicians as well as citizens", Macron said.
Macron is now on a "Tour de France" to 'take the pulse of the country, ' according to the Elysee Palace.
"Politics can in no way be about violence, verbal aggression, much less physical aggression.we are all concerned, this concerns the foundations of our democracy", Castex said, speaking at a session of the National Assembly.