PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron will continue to greet crowds during his travels despite a security scare that saw him slapped by a man in the south of France, a government spokesman said Wednesday.
Macron shrugged off his assault on Tuesday in the village of Tain l’Hermitage, calling it an "isolated event" and "stupidity", and he went to chat with and fistbump onlookers later in the day in the nearby town of Valence.
"Obviously his trips are going to continue: the president will remain in contact with the French public," government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday. "It would be completely incomprensible for people to be deprived of contact with the president because of an isolated individual who wanted to challenge" him, Attal added.
Macron’s assailant, a 28-year-old man identified as Damien T., remained in police custody on Wednesday and is expected to be charged with assaulting a public figure, which carries a maximum three-year prison term. He has been described as a fan of medieval martial arts and board games, while the French media raked over his social media activity looking for clues to his political sympathies.
He is a subscriber to several far-right YouTube channels. Popular evening talkshow Le Quotidien aired footage of one of its journalists meeting Damien T. and friends earlier in the day on Tuesday.
One of the friends, who says he identifies with the anarchist movement, explains that they have come to speak to Macron about the "decline of France". Police sources said that Damien T. had no criminal record and friends and acquaintances who spoke to AFP expressed surprise at his actions, describing him as a shy and placid character.