A protester slapped French President Emmanuel Macron across the face during a trip to southeast France on Tuesday on the second stop of a nationwide tour.
Images on social media and broadcast on the BFM news channel showed Macron approach a barrier to greet a man who, instead of shaking hands, slapped the 43-year-old across the face.
Macron’s bodyguards quickly intervened and two people were arrested afterward, local officials said.
“The man who tried to slap the president and another individual are currently being questioned by the gendarmerie,” the regional prefecture said in a statement.
The incident in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage in the Drome region represents a serious security breach and overshadows the start of Macron’s tour which he said was designed to “take the country’s pulse.”
“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,” the prefecture said.
“He went to meet them and that’s where the incident happened,” it added.
The centrist is widely expected to seek re-election in next year’s presidential elections and polls show him with a narrow lead over far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Around a dozen, stops had been planned over the next two months, with Macron keen to meet voters in person after more than a year of crisis management linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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.
In July last year, Macron and his wife Brigitte were verbally abused by a group of protesters while taking an impromptu walk through the Tuileries gardens in central Paris.
“Politics can never be violence, verbal aggression, much less physical aggression,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament after the latest incident.
Macron has undertaken several other tours since his 2017 electoral triumph over the traditional parties of government on the left and right.
A 2018 trip to mark the centenary of the end of World War I is best remembered for the scenes of furious citizens booing and heckling France’s youngest post-war leader.
It took place just as “yellow vest” protests were gathering momentum to denounce the government’s policies and the head of state personally for his leadership style, which was criticized as aloof and arrogant.
Macron conducted another tour billed as a listening exercise in 2019 in the aftermath of those protests, which shook the country and saw him promise to change his way of governing.
‘Two COVID Tests In 72 Hours’, New Protocol For Nigeria As UAE Lifts Flight Ban
The Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has released a new protocol directing travellers from Nigeria to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the airport in the United Arab Emirates.
Flights between both countries have been suspended since March over issues relating to the COVID-19 protocol.
In a press release on Saturday, the middle east country said the new measure is part of its efforts to ease inbound travel restrictions.
Passengers are also expected to have taken a COVID test 48 hours before departure, and have negative results to show for it.
According to the Dubai media office, the protocol will become effective from June 23, 2021.
“Passengers must have received a negative test result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens exempted,” the new guideline reads.
“Passengers should present a negative PCR test certificate with a 0R Code from labs approved by the Nigerian Government.
“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.
“Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.”
Headed by @sheikhmansoor, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in #Dubai announces updates to Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India, effective from Wednesday 23 June 2021.https://t.co/Zfma4YWugQ pic.twitter.com/NkhIzaQwzI
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 19, 2021
The federal government had been in talks with the authorities of the UAE over the travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In February, Emirates Airline had directed that travellers taking off from Nigeria must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure, but the federal government had banned outbound Emirates flights for violating the directive of the presidential task force (PTF) on rapid antigen tests.
The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests. It was later reintroduced on March 15, with the federal government explaining that the airline had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.
Thereafter, in March, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new COVID-19 travel protocol for Nigeria as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
Passengers who had been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai were barred from entering the middle east country.
Arewa vs IPOB: Northern Youths Reports Irokotv App On Play Store After Google Removed Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App
After several Northern youths targeted Jason Njoku’s Irokotv app on Playstore in retribution for the removal of Adamu Garba’s Crowwe app, a Nigerian man contacted the company’s owner, Jason Njoku.
This happened just days after Google banned Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App due to a copyright infringement by the social media company.
Remember that Adamu Garba, the CEO of Crowwe App, backed the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria following the federation’s ban on the social media platform.
He also made fun of Twitter, advising Nigerians to use his own social media app instead. However, numerous Nigerians complained and gave his app negative reviews, prompting its removal.
In revenge for Crowwe’s expulsion, Northern youths have mobilized to begin reporting Igbo-owned mobile apps. Jason Njoku’s iRokoTV and Softtalk messaging are among the apps listed.
Obasanjo Contributed To Nigeria’s Crisis, He Should Mind His Utterances —– Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the current chaos in the country, adding that the ex-military general should mind his utterances.
He stated this on Friday in a piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s Unity And All The Iberiberism’.
Adesina wrote, “The saber-rattling about Nigeria’s unity and the possibility of disintegration has got to the point of Iberiberism (an Igbo word which could mean stupidity). Some people have no other business than doomsday predictions of a crumbled, collapsed Nigeria, as if they actually fast and pray for that eventuality.
“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007, they predicted that he was going to be the last President of a united Nigeria. It didn’t happen. When Umaru Yar’Adua came, they said he was too sick to hold Nigeria together. The country stood.
“Under Goodluck Jonathan, they said the man was too weak, and different components of the country would soon say, ‘to your tents oh Israel.’ Nigeria survived. And for six years under Muhammadu Buhari, they have not changed their songs. The Somaliasation of Nigeria was on the way. The Fulanisation of the country would be the final death knell. But Nigeria lives. It trudges on from day to day, month to month, and will surely survive.”
Adesina said though some people dwell on negativity, “some fathers of the land will not fold their hands and see Nigeria go down”.
“Fortunately, we have one of them as President now. The young Muhammadu Buhari spent 30 months in the frontlines as a young army officer, fighting the war of unity. And he has said it: we will not be around and watch Nigeria go down. Never. We will rather speak to insurrectionists in the language they understand.
“And what of Olusegun Obasanjo, a civil war hero. Despite all that he has contributed to the current upheavals by his actions and inactions, words, and bile, he says it is idiotic to wish Nigeria disintegration now. Good. But let us put our money where our mouth is. Let Baba mind his thoughts, and his language,” the presidential spokesman added.
“Nigeria will survive. The polity will endure. And the component parts will live together in amity and brotherhood. Any other option is Iberiberism,” he concluded.
Obasanjo, a military head of state from February 1976 to September 1979, was Nigeria’s democratically elected president between May 1999 and May 2007.