French President Nicolas Sarkozy

An apparently drunk man was arrested after he insulted French President Nicholas Sarkozy during a public appearance on Thursday, regional security officials said.

The man in his 50s was arrested when Sarkozy made an unscheduled stop to greet a crowd of onlookers after meeting officials in the city of Lille in northern France.

Police at the scene said they heard the man insult Sarkozy, but it was not immediately known what he said.

An alcohol test showed the man, who was not believed to be a political activist, had been drinking and he was placed in a drunk tank, officials said. He was not previously known to police.

Lille prosecutors said they must wait until the man had sobered up before they could say if he will be charged. - Sapa-AFP