A video clip of French President Emmanuel Macron sparked widespread controversy on social media, as activists accused him of deliberately hiding a luxury watch he was wearing during an interview on a television channel, despite the stifling economic crisis, forcing the Elysee Palace to comment.
Macron appeared during an interview on the French channel "LCI" to talk about the controversial retirement law, while taking off his watch from his hand during the press interview, then passing it from under the table to appear without it.
French platforms were outraged by the widespread circulation of the video across the digital space, and Macron's Hour received mixed reactions from the pioneers of French and Arab platforms as well.
Activists linked the French president's latest shot to the controversial retirement law - enacted by his government by an exceptional decision that bypassed parliament - while stating that the watch is from the luxury brand "Rolex" and its price exceeds 80,<> euros.
French MP Clemence Gotti wrote on Twitter: "Talking about the French who earn minimum wages and who do not have purchasing power, Macron takes off his beautiful luxury watch from under the table, this man is petty."
I wish our Arab rulers would feel their blood a little and do like him, especially the rulers whose economic situation is mostly difficult. https://t.co/UPMfU88ppv
— Mohammed Saeed (@mohamedsaed141) March 25, 2023
Journalist Raphaël Grable commented in defense of Macron: "He hides a watch worth 80,<> euros, it looks like fake news," while explaining: "Macron often wears the watch shown in the video, and it is also in the colors of the security group of the French Presidency, but it seems that it hit the table and caused a stir during filming."
The French page interested in news of strikes on Twitter - the strike fund - wrote a sarcastic tweet towards Macron, saying: "Easy game! What's going to disappear between these two clips?"
European parliamentarian Gilbert Collard asked via Twitter: "But why doesn't Macron want this watch to appear?"
Sofiane criticized Macron's attackers and said: "The president of an entire country, is he required to wear a Casio?"
France has been witnessing widespread protests for weeks against President Macron's retirement age reform system (Reuters)
The Elysee Palace commented on the controversy caused by the video on social media, saying that President Macerne took off his watch after hitting it on the table, causing a fairly loud noise, according to local news sites.
The Elysee explained: "The watch worn by the president is a model "Bell & Ross BRV192" with the logo of the Republican presidency and sells for about 2000,80 euros, contrary to allegations on social media, which said that its price is <>,<> euros."
This comes amid anger and discontent in France against the president, after his government passed a law to amend the retirement age that sparked widespread protests in the country, as well as strikes that paralyzed France.
The latest wave of protests represents the biggest challenge to Macron's authority since the "yellow vest" protests four years ago, and opinion polls show that a majority of French people oppose the pension law, as well as the government's decision to pass it in parliament without a vote.