French President Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to take cover in a cafe protected by riot police Thursday when several hundred protesters mobbed him, booing loudly and shouting insults.
Sarkozy was campaigning for re-election in France's southwest Basque country and remained holed up in the Bar du Palais for an hour while protesters threw eggs at police outside, the Associated Press reported. Protesters included Basque nationalists and supporters of rival Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, whom Sarkozy is currently trailing.
The Agence France-Presse news service reported some protesters shouted "Nicolas kampora!" meaning "Nicolas get out!"
Inside the cafe, Sarkozy condemned "the violence of a minority and their unacceptable behavior" and said he regretted that "militant Socialists were allying themselves with Basque separatists."
A Sarkozy campaign spokeswoman later accused the Socialists of organizing "street protests" against the president, AFP reported.