A startling moment jolted an otherwise rousing political moment in France on Tuesday. As President Emmanuel Macron was greeting a crowd, a man clasped his arm and slapped him in the face, reports the BBC. Watch the video here. Security immediately intervened and arrested the man, and Macron appeared to be uninjured. The man has been identified only as a 28-year-old, and authorities haven't speculated about a motive. Another man, 28, also was arrested, reports the Guardian. The man who slapped Macron could be heard yelling "Down with Macronia!" ("A bas la Macronie!") just before he struck, per Reuters. The term, used pejoratively, refers to Macron's rule.
He also yelled "Montjoie Saint-Denis!" Reuters and CNN describe this as a medieval battle cry used by the French army when the nation was still a monarchy. And CNN adds this context: "The motto is also widely known in France for being a line from [the] 1993 fantasy comedy film Les Visiteurs, in which a 12th-century knight and his squire magically travel in time to the '90s and find themselves adrift in modern society." One of Macron's most vocal political foes, far-right leader Marine La Pen, condemned the attack. "While democratic debate can be bitter, it can never tolerate physical violence," she said, per the BBC. Macron had been visiting the Drome region of southeastern France to talk to residents about a return to normalcy after the pandemic. (Read more Emmanuel Macron stories.)