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VIDEO: Macron slapped in face while on tour of France

Two people have been arrested after French president Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face as he greeted members of the public while on a visit to southern France.

VIDEO: Macron slapped in face while on tour of France
Emmanuel Macron was visiting south east France. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

Video showed the president greeting members of the public in the village of Tain-l’Hermitage before a man in a green T-shirt grasped his hand as if about to shake it and then slapped him in the face.

The man uttered the cry ‘Montjoie Saint-Denis’ – originally a Medieval French battlecry that has since become associated with the far right. 

The president is said by his entourage, who also confirmed the authenticity of the video, to be unhurt and two people have been arrested.

“The man who tried to slap the president and another individual are currently being questioned by the gendarmerie,” the préfecture said in a statement.

“Around 1.15 pm, 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.

Macron was visiting the south east French département of Drôme, part of his grand tour of France to ‘take the pulse of the nation’ – widely seen as the beginning of his bid for re-election in 2022.

READ ALSO Can Macron cheer up the French with his Tour de France?

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.

“Politics can never be violence, verbal aggression, much less physical aggression,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament after the latest incident.

Member comments

  1. C’est triste de lire du journalisme déformé et ignorant affirmant que c’est un anarchiste qui l’a giflé et puis plus bas en disant que c’était quelqu’un d’extrême droite. Les anarchistes ne viennent pas d’extrême droite, bien au contraire. Employez des personnes qui ont des cellules entre les oreilles.

  2. It is sad to read distorted and ignorant journalism stating that it was an anarchist who slapped him and then further down saying it was someone from the far Right. Anarchists do not come from the far right, quite the opposite. Employ people who have some cells between the ears.

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POLITICS

Calls to limit right to strike in Paris during the Olympics

Paris regional officials have reportedly asked the French Senate to limit the right to strike during the 2024 Olympics in an effort to ensure smooth operations for public transport.

Calls to limit right to strike in Paris during the Olympics

As unions organise ahead of a day of mobilisation and walkouts on January 31st to protest proposed pension reform, head of the greater Paris region (and right-wing former presidential candidate) Valérie Pécresse ha reportedly requested that the French government restricts the right to strike during the 2024 Games.

A member of Pécresse’s team told Le Parisien that the objective was to place limits on the right to strike in an attempt to stop certain unions from abusing the right and “completely disrupting [public transport] services”. 

READ MORE: Calendar: The latest French pension strike dates to remember

However, the proposals were rejected by the French Senate and were denounced by unions as “another attack on the right to strike”.

Although strikes are common in France there are some limits – workers in essential industries like public transport must give 48 hours’ notice of their intention to strike and workers in certain sectors including the army and emergency services are banned from striking.

The French government also has a rarely-used strike-busting power which allows it to force strikers back to work if their actions are affecting the security of the county.

Pécresse’s request came just a few days before the French government was set to debate an “Olympics bill” – which will establish some exemptions to current regulations in the effort of ensuring “smooth running” of the Olympic Games in 2024.

Concerns have arisen regarding the possibility of industrial action during the Olympic Games, which will come after the controversial opening up of competition the Paris public transport system (the RATP). During a speech in mid-January, Pécresse told IDFM that she hoped to create “100 percent guaranteed service during peak hours” on public transport, even during strike action.

Members of French President Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet have also expressed apprehension about possible strike action during the Olympics.

The attempt to add amendments that would restrict striking came just a day after French Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, told Télématin that there were no plans to “touch the right to strike”, but that Macron had tasked the ministry with look into setting up more significant warning periods, as well as safeguarded periods for “vacation departures”. The minister also discussed the idea of having reserves of workers who could be mobilised to help during strike periods.

It was a member of Pécresse’s centre-right party – Philippe Tabarot – sought to add amendments restricting the right to strike to the bill, but they were ultimately rejected by the Senate. He referred to strike action at French national rail services (SNCF) during the Christmas holidays – which left 200,000 people without transport – as “intolerable” and said that “the right to strike is now being abused”.

READ MORE: ‘You don’t strike at Christmas’ – fury in France as trains cancelled

According to Le Parisien, Tabraot specifically sought require unions to provide strike notice at least 72-hours ahead of industrial action – instead of the current 48-hours. Additionally, the proposed amendments would make it so unions could not reactive an old “unlimited” strike notice that was filed several years ago and has since gone unused. The latter would attempt to diminish workers’ ability to spontaneously walk out.

And finally Tabarot hoped to add an amendment that would limit ‘short strikes’ by requiring workers to join strike action “at the start of their first shift” that day. This would make it so workers could not walk out in the middle of services for ‘short’ (under 59 minute) strikes.

Even though Tabarot’s amendments were not accepted during this attempt, the elected official said that the Senate would have to return to the subject in the following weeks and months, as the French parliament continues to consider the Olympics bill.

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