The incident happened during an official trip to the south of France by President Emmanuel Macron.
Upon leaving a high school he was visiting, the president approached the crowd and was struck by an individual standing there. According to the prosecutor, witnesses heard someone shouting “down with macronia,” a derogatory term used to describe the French president and his entourage.
The unarmed individual and the person accompanying him were both arrested by security services and placed under custody on counts of “violence a person holding public authority.”
The motivations of the aggressor are still unknown, according to the public prosecutor of Valence.
Local media published a video clip shared on social media depicting a man being pulled to the ground after slapping the president. Politicians quickly condemned the act on social media.
Macron’s political opponent in the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said in a tweet, “This time you begin to understand that the violent take action? I stand in solidarity with the President,” pointing to the political far-right as the fomenters of violence.
Far-right politician Marine Le Pen condemned the act during a press conference, as did Republican Xavier Bertrand.