Mob Chases Sarkozy Into Bar

French prez meets hostile crowd at campaign stop

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 2, 2012 12:26 AM CST | Updated Mar 2, 2012 12:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Yesterday was a tough day on the campaign trail for Nicolas Sarkozy. The French president was forced to take refuge in a bar after being confronted by a hostile crowd in the southwestern city of Bayonne, the BBC reports. Hundreds of angry protesters—a mix of Basque nationalists and supporters of Sarkozy's Socialist rival Francois Hollande—pelted the bar with eggs as it was surrounded by riot police. Sarkozy managed to slip out after about an hour.

An angry Sarkozy later denounced "the violence of a minority and their unacceptable behavior," and described the protesters as hooligans. "Here, we're in France, on the territory of the French republic, and the president of the republic will go everywhere," he said. "And if that doesn't please a minority of troublemakers, too bad for them." Hollande, who is leading Sarkozy in the polls, didn't directly address the incident, but urged his supporters to avoid resorting to verbal or physical abuse.

Demonstrators stand in front of riot police during Sarkozy's ill-fated campaign stop in Bayonne.
Demonstrators stand in front of riot police during Sarkozy's ill-fated campaign stop in Bayonne.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme)
Nicolas Sarkozy is surrounded by bodyguards in a street of Bayonne during a campaign visit yesterday.
Nicolas Sarkozy is surrounded by bodyguards in a street of Bayonne during a campaign visit yesterday.   (Getty Images)
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