18:19 GMT +317 August 2019
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    French president Emmanuel Macron (C) meets inhabitants of Quartier Orleans, on September 29, 2018 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.

    Two Bare-Chested Men, One Middle Finger: Macron Under Fire for Controversial Pic

    © AFP 2019 / Eliot BLONDET/POOL
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    During his trip to Saint Martin to inspect the reconstruction work after the Caribbean island was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, Emmanuel Macron talked to the locals about their life after the calamity.

    While on a four-day tour of the island of Saint Martin, French President Emmanuel Macron was pictured alongside two shirtless young men, one of whom flipped the middle finger at the cameras.

    READ MORE: 'Wrong': Italy's PM Conte Slams Macron for Claiming Italy in Crisis With EU

    The second bandanna-wearing man, for his part, confessed to Macron that he was a robber and had been recently released from prison. The revelation, however, seemed not to faze the French president as he advised the ex-convict to move forward and contribute to the reconstruction of the hurricane-stricken island.

    The image of the trio immediately went viral, generating heated debates among social media users as well as fellow politicians.

    TWEET: “There is almost nothing left. Only shreds of dignity that are lost in the night of vulgarity. The president's suit has become far too big.”

    TWEET: “What amazes me in this picture is that Macron didn’t demand that these two young men be properly dressed. He is the President of the Republic and must be received with some respect… Everything is debased.”

    TWEET: “We’ve touched rock bottom. I can’t bear seeing the presidential post be debased with so much flippancy. I am now convinced of the moral incapacity of the head of state to fulfill his duties. Emmanuel #Macron must draw all the consequences.”

    The leader of the right-wing party National Rally, Marine Le Pen, was also among those who expressed indignation via Twitter:

    “Words cannot express our indignation. France certainly does not deserve that. It is unforgivable!” she tweeted. 

    Some social media users have recalled the story of the French teen schooled by Macron for using a diminutive of his first name, Manu. Macron didn’t hesitate to dress down the kid in front of the crowd and dozens of cameras, and demanded that the boy call him “Mr. President.”

    TWEET: "You must behave. You do not call me Manu, you call me Mr. President.”

    TWEET: “I still hope that #Macron found it less familiar than calling him ‘Manu’…”

    Another netizen apparently decided to steer clear of politics, instead turning to jokes and suggested that the French president was set to drop a fiery album:

    Responding to the fierce backlash, Macron defended himself saying that he “loved every child of the Republic, no matter how foolish they are.”

    controversy, debate, robberies, conviction, photo, middle finger, Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron, France
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