French President Emmanuel Macron reached out for a handshake, while on a regional tour, but received a high-five to the face instead on Tuesday, 8 June, when a man in southeast France slapped him across the face.
"The man who tried to slap the president and another individual are now being questioned by the gendarmerie", the statement added.
Macron's security detail quickly intervened, tackling the man while pulling the president away from the metal barrier.
The incident took place while Macron was on a visit to the Drome region in southeastern France, where he met restaurateurs and students to talk about how life is returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. "I stand in solidarity with the President".
French media later described the attacker as an "anarchist".
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the incident was an affront to democracy.
"Although democratic debate can be bitter, it can by no means tolerate physical violence".
While slapping the president, he could be heard shouting "Montjoie Saint Denis", which was the battle cry of the French armies when the country was still a monarchy.
Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the physical attack and denounced a political context of mounting verbal violence.
It is not the first time that Mr Macron has been attacked by angry crowd members while out in public.
The French president began a grand tour of France last week ahead of regional elections and next year's presidential vote, with the trip expected to include around a dozen stops over the next two months.
Macron is now on a "Tour de France" to 'take the pulse of the country, ' according to the Elysee Palace.
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