French police sniper shoots two in error at Hollande speech

Media captionWatch President Hollande’s reaction as he hears the shot

A French police sniper has accidentally shot and injured two people during a speech by President Francois Hollande in western France.

The shot was fired as the officer moved position on a roof about 100m (328ft) from a tent where Mr Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon.

The bullet went through the canvas of the tent, where drinks were being made. It passed through a waiter’s thigh and lodged in another person’s calf.

The injuries were not life-threatening.

Mr Hollande was inaugurating a new stretch of railway when a loud noise like a gunshot was heard. He interrupted his speech for a few moments, but reports said there was no panic.

“I hope it’s nothing serious. I think not,” Mr Hollande said as he paused his address to ask whether anyone had been hurt.

The president later visited the injured – the head waiter of a local hotel and an employee of a railway maintenance company.

One local report said the safety catch of the sniper’s weapon was unlocked, allowing the gun to be discharged accidentally.

The marksman is based with a special protection unit in nearby Poitiers, officials said.

A judicial investigation has been launched.