Six people arrested in France over ‘loose’ plan to attack Macron
- Arrests were carried out in three separate areas of France and it was not clear what the connection between those arrested was or how they contacted one another
Six people have been arrested as part of a preliminary investigation into a suspected plan to attack French President Emmanuel Macron, an official close to the investigation said.
The source said French security services arrested the six on Tuesday on suspicion of undertaking an “imprecise and loosely-formed” plan for “violent action” against the president.
French television channel BFM TV said the suspects were members of the far-right.
The arrests were carried out in three separate areas of France: Isere, southeast of Lyon; Moselle, on the border with Germany and Luxembourg; and in Ille-et-Vilaine, in the northwest near the city of Rennes.
It was not immediately clear what the connection between those arrested was or how they were in touch with one another.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday said he was “attentive” to risks from movements of “both the extreme left and right which are very active on our territory”.
In an interview published on Sunday, Macron warned of the threat from far-right movements across Europe, insisting complacency during the 1930s was what opened the way for the rise of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.
A press aide for Macron declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the judicial system.
It would not be the first time Macron has been the target of a planned attack. Last year, a man was arrested before the annual July 14 parade preventing him from pressing ahead with a plan to kill the French president, Agence France-Presse reported.
Other French presidents have been targeted in the past. In 2002, a far-right activist tried to kill Jacques Chirac. The man fired at Chirac during the July 14 parade using a .22-calibre rifle he concealed in a guitar case but missed due to a shove from a bystander.
Several assassination attempts were also made on Charles de Gaulle when he was president, including the famous attack of the Petit-Clamart outside Paris in 1962.
In October 2017, French police arrested 10 members of far-right groups who were allegedly planning attacks against Castaner and far-left presidential candidate and Unbowed France party head Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg