Six individuals have been arrested by French authorities in what appears to have been an alleged plot against that nation’s centrist President Emmanuel Macron, law enforcement in that country reported on Tuesday.
Five male suspects and one female suspect were arrested in three different locations across France. Arrests were made near Lyon, near the border with Luxembourg and Germany in Moselle, and in Ille-et-Vilaine as well, according to reporting from NBC News.
Macron was himself not far from Moselle when the arrests were made, visiting sites in Verdun while commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. American President Donald Trump is also scheduled to visit France this weekend to take part in the ceremonies.
Authorities said that the suspects had an “imprecise and loosely-formed” plan to take “violent action” against the French president.
The ages of the suspects ranged from ages 20 to 60, and the Independent further reported that the leader of the group was caught with a handgun (gun ownership is rare in France, and ownership of such a weapon is typically restricted to those who use them for hunting, according to the Washington Post). Some news outlets also reported that the individuals arrested harbored far-right wing viewpoints.
Six far-right suspects held over violence plot against Emmanuel Macron https://t.co/TycxpIDjiE
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 6, 2018
Right-wing extremism was a topic of concern that Macron himself addressed just last week. The French president made clear that the conditions facing his nation today are similar in scope to what happened in the run-up to the years before the Second World War.
“In a Europe that is divided by fears, nationalist assertion and the consequences of the economic crisis, we see almost methodically the rearticulation of everything that dominated the life of Europe from post–World War I to the 1929 crisis,” Macron said just days before the arrests were made, according to reporting from Newsweek.
His words are a far cry from what U.S. President Trump has said in recent weeks. After a right-wing terrorist sent pipe bomb devices to various liberal and anti-Trump individuals across the nation late last month, several commentators suggested Trump’s rhetoric was partly to blame for inspiring that individual, Cesar Sayoc, who is a strong Trump loyalist. Trump dismissed the notion that his words inspired hatred, and instead blamed the “fake news media” for fanning the flames of hate.
“A lot of reporters are creating violence by not writing the truth,” Trump said last month to reporters before attending a campaign rally, according to reporting from the New York Post. “If the media would write correctly and accurately and fairly, you’d have a lot less violence in the country.”
Trump did not explain which stories the news media were reporting on that were false, or that made things more violent in America.