Six people were arrested yesterday in France as part of an alleged terrorism investigation. The precise details are sketchy, as the police are releasing only limited information, but what has been gleaned is as follows, from government sources to the AFP via France24:
They are five men and one woman, aged 22 to 62; they are linked to French “extreme right” movements; they are suspected of preparing a “violent” plot against President Emmanuel Macron. The planned attack was “vague and ill-defined.”
What is known with certainty is that the DGSI domestic intelligence agency, France’s analog to the FBI, picked up the six. Four were in the northeastern city of Moselle, one in south France and one in the western region of the country. Per The Local, “BFM TV described the suspects as belonging to a “far-right commando unit” although this has not been confirmed officially.”
The arrests were made in advance of a visit from multiple world leaders to the country, which would have provided opportunities for action against Macron.
This is not the first such arrest; Macron has been the target of at least three other nationalistic plots against him over the past two years.
Macron is very unpopular in France; his approval rating is around 19%, according to polling. His government has faced scandals and he is seen as callous in some of his dealings with average people; combine that with the failure of his reforms to significantly reduce unemployment (down to about 9% from about 10%) and an effort to remove him from power becomes expected. It is on the people of France to push back against those who would make that effort violent.