BAYONNE, France, March 2 (UPI) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy took cover in a bar after protesters threw eggs and stones at him in the Basque country of southwest France, witnesses said.
Witnesses said Sarkozy came under attack while he campaigned Thursday, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
Sarkozy's security staff hustled him into the bar, where he waited for more than hour while riot police broke up the protest, the report said.
"The protesters said they wanted to beat him up; they said they wanted him to resign," a witness told the British publication. "He looked very concerned indeed. Sarkozy is used to angry crowds, but this one was very threatening."
The Daily Telegraph said many protesters were Basque separatists.
Sarkozy denounced what he called the violence "of a minority and their unacceptable behavior."
Sarkozy partially blamed his presidential rival, Socialist candidate Francois Hollande, for the incident, Sky News reported.
"I am saddened to see Hollande's Socialist militants associating with [Basque] separatists in violent protests to terrorize ordinary people who want just one thing: to meet and talk with me," he said.
Manuel Valls, a member of Hollande's campaign, said the candidate condemned any violence and that no Socialists were involved in the incident.
The presidential elections are in April.