Six people linked to the far-right were arrested in France on Tuesday as part of an investigation into a suspected plot to attack President Emmanuel Macron, officials told CNN Tuesday.
France’s intelligence agency, the DGSI, said the six people were arrested in three separate regions: Isère, southeast of Lyon; Moselle, on the border with Germany and Luxembourg; and Ille-et-Vilaine, in the northwest near the city of Rennes.
The suspects include five men and a woman between the ages of 22 and 62, a judicial source close to the probe told CNN. All have connections to the far-right, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
“The investigation is looking into an imprecise and loosely formed plan for violent action against the President of the Republic,” said the judicial source, who declined to be named discussing an ongoing investigation.
The arrests come after Macron warned in an interview with Le Courrier Picard on Sunday of the rising threat of the far-right movement, adding that complacency in the early 1900s paved the way for Hitler’s rise in Germany and Mussolini in Italy.
According to Reuters, France’s far-right euroskeptic National Rally — formerly known as the National Front — is leading the polls against Macron ahead of the European Parliament election in May. The party is led by Marine Le Pen.
Far right extremism
France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Monday that the country remained “on alert” over threats posed by “extremist networks both on the right and left, which are quite active in our country,” according to France 24.
In June, 10 members of a far-right group called Action des Forces Operationnelles (Operational Forces Action) were charged in connection with an alleged plot to attack Muslims.
And in October 2017, anti-terrorism police arrested 10 people reportedly over alleged plans to attack mosques, migrants and leftist politician Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Macron has also been targeted before. During the Bastille Day celebrations in July 2017, a 23-year-old was charged over a plot to assassinate the President.
Investigators said the man planned to attack Macron on July 14, during a parade on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, where US President Donald Trump was set to be a guest of honour.
A self-described far-right nationalist, the man told police he wanted to make a political statement by killing Macron, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.
The six arrests on Tuesday come as France begins to commemorate the centenary of the World War I armistice.
CNN’s Bianca Britton and Arnaud Siad contributed to this story from London and Helen Regan contributed from Hong Kong.