French President Emmanuel Macron has been slapped in the face during an official visit to southern France.
Bodyguards tackled the offender, who had hit the president after shouting “down with Macron” and other royalist battle cries.
Mr Macron’s security entourage quickly ushered the leader away.
Two people were arrested in connection with the slap, broadcasters BFM TV and RMC radio reported.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex called the incident an affront to democracy.
But in an interview with the Dauphiné Libéré newspaper, Mr Macron played down the actions of who he called an “ultra-violent individual”.
“I am doing fine. We must put this incident, which I think is an isolated event, into perspective,” he said.
“Let’s not let isolated events, ultra-violent individuals… take hold of the public debate: they do not merit it.”
A man slapped President Emmanuel Macron in the face on Tuesday during a walkabout in southern France, an incident which his prime minister denounced as an affront to democracy. pic.twitter.com/L5LLlfB4l8
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 8, 2021
Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte were visiting the Drome region in south-eastern France, to meet restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the COVID-19 epidemic.
In video circulating on social media, the president could be seen walking towards a crowd of well-wishers who were behind a metal barrier in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage.
He reached out his hand to greet one man who wore a a green T-shirt, with glasses and a face mask.
The man could be heard shouting “a bas la Macronie” (“down with Macronia”) before slapping the president.
Someone just slapped France's president Macron lol wtf pic.twitter.com/ZmlCXLj3Rn
— mx (@MessiMX10i) June 8, 2021
The local mayor, Xavier Angeli, told franceinfo radio that Mr Macron had urged his security to “leave him, leave him” while the offender was being held to the ground.
Mr Macron said he had not feared for his safety and that nothing would stop him performing his duties.
The presidential administration confirmed there had been an attempt to strike Mr Macron but declined further comment.
The offender’s motivations remain unclear.
While slapping the president, he could be heard shouting “Montjoie Saint Denis”, the battle cry of the French armies when the country was still a monarchy.
France24 reported the royalist call was also used by someone who threw a cream pie at far-left politician Éric Coquerel in 2018.
At the time, the extreme-right, monarchist group Action Française took responsibility for the pie incident.