French authorities probing a planned attack on President Emmanuel Macron made six arrests on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The planned attack on Macron was not well-defined at this stage, said the person, who asked not to be named as the status of the probe is confidential. A preliminary investigation is being run by Paris prosecutors.
A press aide for Macron declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the judicial system. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, 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.” The latest arrests were made in three different French regions, the person said. The website of TV station BFM, which first reported the foiled attack, said the six people arrested were linked to extremist right-wing movements.
It wouldn’t be the first time Macron has been the target of a planned attack. Last year, a man was arrested ahead of the annual July 14 parade preventing him from pressing ahead with a plan to kill the French president, AFP reported.
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 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 Castaner and far-left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon.