French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been booed by hundreds of angry protesters, forcing him to take shelter in a bar as he campaigned in the Basque country ahead of April’s presidential election.
Some in the crowd then threw eggs at the bar guarded by riot police in the south-western town of Bayonne.
Nicolas Sarkozy described the protesters – Basque nationalists and supporters of his rival Socialist candidate Francois Hollande – as “hooligans”.
The president left the bar after about an hour.
The Basque region straddles south-western France and northern Spain.
Nicolas Sarkozy has been booed by hundreds of angry protesters in Bayonne, as he campaigned in the Basque country ahead of April's presidential election
Nicolas Sarkozy was met in Bayonne by a hostile crowd, who jeered him and shouted insults.
Some chanted “Nicolas kampora”, which in the Basque language meant “Nicolas get out”.
Nicolas Sarkozy was also showered with campaign leaflets calling for greater Basque autonomy.
Riot police had to be deployed around the Bar du Palais, where the president took refuge.
Visibly angry, Nicolas Sarkozy later denounced “the violence of a minority and their unacceptable behavior”.
“Here, we’re in France, on the territory of the French republic, and the president of the republic will go everywhere. And if that doesn’t please a minority of troublemakers, too bad for them,” Nicolas Sarkozy said.
The president also said he was “saddened to see Hollande’s Socialist militants associating with [Basque] separatists in violent protests to terrorise ordinary people who want just one thing: to meet and talk with me”.
A senior member of Francois Hollande’s campaign team later said that while the party leader condemned any violence, no Socialist was involved in the Bayonne incident, the AFP news agency reports.
Opinion polls show that Nicolas Sarkozy is lagging behind Francois Hollande, although the current president is narrowing the gap.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and leader of the opposition Tony Abbott had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a restaurant by angry protesters, local media reports.
Riot police formed a shield around the prime minister as they helped her force a path through the protesters who surrounded a restaurant where she was attending an awards ceremony to mark Australia Day.
About 50 police escorted PM Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott from Canberra’s Lobby restaurant after it was surrounded by some 200 supporters of the city’s Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Julia Gillard stumbled after losing a shoe in the scuffle, but was caught by her personal security guard and managed to get into a waiting car.
About 50 police escorted PM Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott from Canberra's Lobby restaurant after it was surrounded by some 200 supporters of the city's Aboriginal Tent Embassy
Tony Abbott had reportedly angered them by suggesting it was time for the camp – marking its 40th year – to come down.
The pair had been at a ceremony for the inaugural National Emergency Medals.
The honours – presented as the country marked Australia Day – were introduced to recognize those who served their communities during events such as the 2009 bushfires in Victoria and the floods in Queensland in 2010 and 2011.
Australia’s newspapers reported that riot police were called to the restaurant at about 14:30 local time as protesters gathered outside, with people banging on the glass yelling “shame” and “racist”.
Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott were reportedly forced to wait 20 minutes before police escorted them through a side door.
Chaos ensued as a bodyguard grabbed Julia Gillard by the shoulders and shoved her into a waiting car.
The prime minister appeared to have stumbled in the process and was missing a shoe. Protesters continued to bang on the car’s roof and the bonnet as it sped off.
Supporters had gathered for a three-day Corroborree for Sovereignty to mark the 40th anniversary of the tent embassy.
Media reports suggested some had been angered by Tony Abbott’s suggestion in a TV interview that it was “time to move on” from the camp in light of current plans to recognize indigenous people in the country’s constitution.
The tent embassy was established in 1972 by four men as a protest against the prime minister of the time’s refusal to acknowledge indigenous land rights.