Assailant grabs French leader Sarkozy in crowd

A TV grab taken from France Televisions shows a man grabbing French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) by the jacket as he was greeting people gathered behind a barrier in the town of Brax, southwestern France on June 30, 2011. Sarkozy continued on his way as the man was restrained by security staff (AFP PHOTO)

 A man in a crowd yanked French President Nicolas Sarkozy by the shoulder Thursday and nearly knocked him to the ground before being tackled by security officers and detained.

The unusually aggressive incident occurred as the president shook hands with a crowd in the town of Brax in southern France.

The man's identity and motives were unclear. French police said the man was detained and being held in the nearby town of Agen.

Images broadcast on French television showed Sarkozy reach over a metal barricade to greet onlookers, when an arm grabbed his suit roughly by the shoulder and pulled it toward the crowd.

Sarkozy started to lose his balance and fall, then immediately recoiled and righted himself. Security officers pulled the assailant to the ground.<
Sarkozy's office would not immediately comment on the incident.

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