French President Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to take refuge in a bar protected by riot police during a presidential campaign in France's southwest Basque country on Thursday.

The incident occurred as protesters including Basque separatists threw pieces of paper at the president forcing him to take refuge in the Bar du Palaisfor in central Bayonne for nearly an hour.

The French president was greeted by both supporters and protesters in the streets of central Bayonne in the French Basque country when Sarkozy visited the place.

"Here, we are in France, on the territory of the French republic, and the president of the republic will go everywhere. And if that doesn't please a minority of troublemakers, too bad for them," said Sarkozy denouncing the incident inside the bar.

"If this is the concept of democracy that the Socialists associate with Basque separatists, if this is it, the country they have in mind, it doesn't make you want to get there," Sarkozy told reporters.

The crowd even threw eggs towards the café as it stood guarded by the riot police. Later Sarkozy left the scene with the protection of riot police and an umbrella.

According to the latest polls, Sarkozy is lagging behind his rival Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande. France will hold its presidential election in April 2012.

Also read: Nicolas Sarkozy Booed And Jeered by Basque Protesters [PHOTOS]