Macron pelted with tomatoes in working-class suburb while on unity tour
London: French President Emmanuel Macron was pelted with tomatoes during a surprise visit to a working-class suburb north of Paris just days after he pledged to work harder to unify the fractured nation following his re-election.
The 44-year-old’s security detail was forced to deploy a special protective umbrella to protect him from the flying fruit, with bodyguards shouting “projectile!” as they tried to shield the leader.
The tomatoes appeared to have narrowly missed the French president when they were launched at him during a visit to Saint-Christophe market square in Cergy.
Video of the attack, which quickly spread on social media on Thursday morning (AEST), showed about six of the small fruits, some orange and some red, in what appeared to be a blue plastic bag, fly over the head of the French leader and bounced off the shoulder and arm of two men beside him.
Macron, a centrist, has faced accusations of being too elitist and arrogant, which discouraged left-wing voters from backing him in Sunday’s runoff vote against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. But despite the reluctance of the French public to embrace him, he was re-elected with almost 59 per cent of the vote.
Footage showed a bystander clambering onto a table and hurling himself backward in the direction of the group of people around Macron. He appeared to throw a wayward punch as he flew through the air. There were screams as he landed hard on the crowd and then hit the ground.
The special Kevlar umbrella, known as the paraPactum, can withstand attacks with knives, dogs and hold back crowds. It is also waterproof and its makers insist it will not crumple in a headwind of more than 150km/h.
It was bought by the president’s special protection forces under Nicolas Sarkozy, costing around €10,000 ($14,700) and comes in a secure black briefcase. The material has been tested to withstand acid attacks.