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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
Sarkozy scolds US photographers
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) notices photographers taking pictures
Mr Sarkozy (left) had told reporters to keep their distance
Two American news photographers say French President Nicolas Sarkozy shouted at them and jumped onto their boat during his holiday in the US.

The photographers had gone out onto Lake Winnipesaukee on Sunday to take pictures of Mr Sarkozy, who is staying at a luxury villa in New Hampshire.

They said Mr Sarkozy's boat drew up alongside theirs and he jumped aboard, wearing only his swimming trunks.

He was "very agitated", speaking rapid French "at a loud volume", one said.

The Associated Press news agency named the two photographers as its own Jim Cole and freelancer Vince DeWitt.

They had already received permission to be there from a New Hampshire patrol, AP reported.

Language barrier

Mr Cole said that initially Mr Sarkozy had looked happy, waving at the security guards, but "then he noticed us taking pictures and his happy demeanour diminished immediately".

Mr DeWitt, who was also quoted by the AFP news agency, said Mr Sarkozy at one point approached him and picked up his camera, but then put it down.

According to Mr Cole, they told Mr Sarkozy repeatedly that they did not speak French. Mr Cole said he asked whether any of the other passengers on Mr Sarkozy's boat spoke English, but that no-one answered or intervened.

The photographers said Mr Sarkozy calmed down after they promised to stop taking pictures for the day and he returned to his boat.

Earlier, Mr Sarkozy made some brief comments to reporters, explaining that "I have friends who have vacationed here for years - they rented a house and they invited us".

He had told them in French that he wanted to be left alone with his family. AP says the photographers did not get a translation of those remarks until after the incident on the lake.

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