French President Nicolas Sarkozy had quite a scare after he was grabbed by a bystander and nearly knocked to the ground during a visit to a town in southern France today.

The man first offered his hand for a handshake as the president met supporters behind a metal crowd-control barrier in the town of Brax and then gripped his shoulder and yanked violently, causing Sarkozy  to stumble.

Security officers pulled the assailant to the ground and afterwards detained in the nearby town of Agen.