Six far-right extremists arrested over violent plot to attack Emmanuel Macron

Five men and one woman between the ages of 22 and 62 were arrested in the plot Tuesday.
Six far-right extremists arrested over violent plot to attack Emmanuel Macron

Six members of a far-right extremist group were arrested in France Tuesday on suspicion of planning a violent attack against the French President Emmanuel Macron.

France’s intelligence agency, the DGSI, announced that five men and one woman between the ages of 22 and 62 were arrested in the plot. All six suspects have links to the far right, the agency said.

BFM TV also described the suspects as belonging to a “far-right commando unit,” though the DGSI has yet to confirm this description.

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The group appears to be have been spread out across the country, with the arrests made in three locations: Isère, southeast of Lyon; Moselle, on the border with Germany; and Ille-et-Vilaine, near the city of Rennes in the northeast of the country.

It is unclear exactly what the group was planning to do, but authorities have categorized it as some sort of violent assault.

"The investigation is looking into an imprecise and loosely formed plan for violent action against the President of the Republic,” a source close to the investigation told CNN.

While France has been on high alert for Islamist terrorism, following a spate of attacks in France in recent years, there is growing concern about the rise of far-right extremists in the country.

Macron warned about the threat from the far-right as recently as Sunday in an interview published in the Le Courrier Picard, noting that a failure to heed the warnings in the early part of the last century led to the rise of Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.

It’s not the first specific threat against Macron from the far-right: Last year police arrested and charged a 23-year-old far-right extremist with plotting to assassinate Macron at France's Bastille Day military parade, an event also attended by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The man told investigators at the time that he wanted to kill Macron along with “Muslims, Jews, blacks and homosexuals.”

News of the arrests came at the same time as Macron was announcing his plans to build a “true European army” to defend the region against threats ranging from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Macron told France’s Europe 1 radio.

Cover image: French President (C) meets residents as he arrives in Les Eparges, eastern France on November 6, 2018 during the celebrations of the centenary of the First World War. - French President Emmanuel Macron called on November 6 for a 'real European army' as the continent marks a century since the divisions of World War I, to better defend itself against Russia and even the United States. LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images.