PARIS—A man appeared to slap French President Emmanuel Macron across the face Tuesday during a visit to a small town in southern France, in a sign of how tensions are building ahead of next year’s presidential election.
In two videos broadcast on French television, Mr. Macron is seen jogging toward a small, cheering crowd standing behind a barrier. Mr. Macron leans in for a greeting, placing one hand on the arm of a man wearing a green T-shirt.
The man then shouts “Montjoie Saint-Denis! Down with Macrony!” as he winds up and appears to slap Mr. Macron’s face, causing the president’s head to jerk to one side.
Mr. Macron’s security service quickly intervened, pushing the man to the ground and pulling the president away. Two men were immediately detained by police, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said. A spokesman for the presidency said the man tried to slap Mr. Macron but declined to provide further details.
“Montjoie Saint-Denis” is a royal battle cry that dates back to the 11th or 12th century. It is still used in France as a motto by some far-right groups. “Macrony” is a term used by the president’s opponents to describe Mr. Macron and his allies.