France government’s spokesperson on Wednesday said that President Emmanuel Macron would continue to greet the crowd during his travel in spite of a security blip that saw him slapped by a man near the city of Valence on Tuesday.

Macron brushed off the incident that occurred in Tain l’Hermitage, calling it “stupidity” and an “isolated event”. It happened after he went to interact with and fistbump people nearby.

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“Obviously his trips are going to continue: the president will remain in contact with the French public,” said Gabriel Attal, the spokesman. “It would be completely incomprehensible for people to be deprived of contact with the president because of an isolated individual who wanted to challenge him”.

The assailant was identified as Damien T, aged 28. He is expected to be charged with assaulting a public figure, which carries a prison term of up to three years. It was found that he was a subscriber of far-right YouTube channels. 

Popular evening talk show Le Quotidien aired footage of one of its journalists meeting Damien T and friends on Tuesday.

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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.

The slap led to a debate about whether it is safe for Macron to continue spontaneous meetings with members of the public.

The centrist began a nationwide tour of France last week, promising to “take the pulse” of the country a fortnight before regional elections and 10 months before a presidential vote.