Macron criticized for photo with teen making obscene gesture

In this photo taken Saturday Sept. 29, 2018, French president Emmanuel Macron meets a former robber of Quartier Orleans, on the French Caribbean island of Saint-Martin, during a trip in the French West Indies, one year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged the Island. Macron said on Sunday that he met with the ex-robber during an unplanned side trip into a housing project in Saint Martin because "I love each child of the (French) Republic, whatever their mistakes." (Eliot Blondet, Pool via AP)

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron, sliding in polls, is facing a barrage of criticism over a photo showing him all smiles between two young men during his visit to the French Caribbean, with one of the teens, shirtless and with his pants hanging low, making an obscene gesture with his finger.

The other young man pictured in the weekend encounter was a former robber whom Macron had met with along with the young man’s mother.

By Monday, the photo was the talk of Paris, with right-wing politicians tweeting their indignation. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted “It’s unpardonable!”

Macron said Sunday that he met with the ex-robber during an unplanned side trip into a housing project in Saint Martin because “I love each child of the (French) Republic, whatever their mistakes.”

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