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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Six arrested over far-right plot to attack Emmanuel Macron

The would-be attackers were reportedly under the watch of France's domestic intelligence agency

French president Emmanuel Macron (AFP)
French president Emmanuel Macron (AFP)

French authorities investigating a planned attack on President Emmanuel Macron made six arrests on Tuesday.

Details of the planned attack on Mr Macron are not known at this stage, said the person, who asked not to be named as the status of the inquiry is confidential. A preliminary investigation is being run by Paris prosecutors.

A press aide for Mr Macron declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the judicial system.

The latest arrests were made in three different French regions, the person said. The six people arrested - five men and one woman, age 22 to 62 - are currently in custody and being interrogated, the person said.

According to the Interior Ministry’s press office, the persons are linked to extremist right-wing movements. “Investigations are on going. One must define the reality and the exact nature of the threat. This is what the investigations which just started are about,” according to an emailed statement from the ministry’s press office.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner Monday, speaking at the investiture of a new head of the domestic intelligence service, said that he was “attentive” to risks from movements of “both the extreme left and right which are very active on our territory.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Mr Macron has been the target of a planned attack. Last year, a right-wing activist was arrested ahead of the annual July 14 parade preventing him from pressing ahead with a plan to kill the French president, AFP reported.

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Other French presidents have been targeted in the past. In 2002, a far-right activist tried to kill Jacques Chirac, then French president. The man fired at Mr Chirac during the July 14 parade from a .22-caliber rifle he had 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 of Paris in 1962.

In October 2017, French police arrested 10 members of far-right groups who were allegedly planning attacks against Mr Castaner and far-left presidential candidate and Unbowed France party head Jean-Luc Melenchon.