Francois Hollande, the likely Socialist party candidate in France's presidential elections, took a flour shower in Paris on Wednesday after a protestor wielding a bag of the powder jumped on stage during a speech.

Hollande was preparing to sign a social contract on fair housing when the woman assaulted him. She managed to throw a few handfuls of flour directly at the candidate's face before being tackled by security guards and taken out of the building.

Wordlessly, Hollande took a few seconds to collect himself before continuing on with the event.

Political attacks such as the one on Wednesday are unusual, but have a rich history. While prime minister of England, Tony Blair was hit by flour that was allegedly packed inside a condom and flung at him during a typically unruly session at the House of Commons. Making the matter more embarrassing, the House had just spend millions of pounds revamping Parliament's security.

More common than flour is cream. Political pieing dates back to the 1970s, likely started by the Yippies in the United States. Aron The Mad Yippie Pie Thrower Kay popularized it by taking aim at people like William F. Buckley, Phyllis Schlafly, G. Gordon Liddy and Andy Warhol.

The tradition has been carried on by college students, activists, pranksters and Jonnie Marbles. What does pieing or throwing flour accomplish? Well, it's funny. And it makes the victim look stupid, which, for politicians and others who take themselves too seriously, is sometimes necessary.

Video of the Hollande flouring via BFMTV:

From another angle:

Tony Blair hit by the mysterious purple powder (at 1:33 mark)

Bill Gates at the European Union in Belgium in 1998:

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy hit over and over, mostly by Noël Godin

Ann Coulter is almost pied

Anita Bryant hit with a pie in 1977

Rupert Murdoch kind-of pied; Wendi Deng Mudoch hits back