Man charged with plot­ting to as­sas­si­nate France’s pres­i­dent

Far-right ex­trem­ist tar­gets Mus­lims, Jews, blacks, gays

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A man has been charged with plot­ting to as­sas­si­nate Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron at France’s Bastille Day mil­i­tary pa­rade which the French leader is set to at­tend with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a ju­di­cial source said yes­ter­day. The 23-year-old is a sus­pected far-right ex­trem­ist who told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he wanted to kill Macron at the July 14 na­tional day pa­rade in Paris, a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said. He said he also wanted to at­tack “Mus­lims, Jews, blacks, ho­mo­sex­u­als,” the source added.

Po­lice ar­rested the man at his home on Wed­nes­day in the north­west Paris sub­urb of Ar­gen­teuil af­ter be­ing alerted by users of an in­ter­net cha­t­room where the sus­pect al­legedly said he wanted to buy a firearm. Three kitchen knives were found in his ve­hi­cle and anal­y­sis of his com­puter found that he had con­ducted in­ter­net searches as part of his plot, the source said. Macron, France’s youngest pres­i­dent at 39, in­vited Trump as his guest of honor for the July 14 pa­rade which com­mem­o­rates the storm­ing of the Bastille prison in 1789 — the start of the French Rev­o­lu­tion and a turn­ing point in world his­tory.

The two men have rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views and in­ter­ests, but Macron ap­pears in­tent on try­ing to build a re­la­tion­ship with the US pres­i­dent and has warned against ef­forts to iso­late him at a meet­ing of G20 na­tions this week­end. The July 14 as­sas­si­na­tion plot re­calls the plot of “The Day of the Jackal”, a book by spy writer Fred­er­ick Forsyth in which a hit­man at­tempts to kill for­mer French pres­i­dent Charles de Gaulle, the tar­get of nu­mer­ous real-life plots. On Bastille Day in 2002, pres­i­dent Jac­ques Chirac was the tar­get of an as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt on Paris’s Champs-El­y­sees av­enue.

Ter­ror on Champs-El­y­sees

Macron has fre­quently greeted crowds and dis­cussed with pro­test­ers, but France re­mains in a state of emer­gency af­ter a string of at­tacks since 2015. The July 14 pa­rade takes place on the Champs-El­y­sees, which has been the site of two re­cent at­tacks tar­get­ing po­lice. Late last month a man drove a car laden with weapons and gas can­is­ters into a po­lice van on the world­fa­mous av­enue.

In April, a known ex­trem­ist shot dead a po­lice­man on the Champ­sEl­y­sees just days be­fore the first round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The man ar­rested out­side Paris last week was charged on Satur­day with plot­ting to com­mit a ter­ror­ist act, the ju­di­cial source said.

He had al­ready been con­victed in 2016 for con­don­ing ter­ror­ism and sen­tenced to three years in prison, of which 18 months were sus­pended. He had ap­plauded neo-Nazi mass mur­derer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 peo­ple in a bomb and gun ram­page in 2011 in Nor­way. France has been un­der a state of emer­gency that has been re­peat­edly re­newed since ji­hadist at­tacks in Paris in Novem­ber 2015 in which 130 peo­ple were killed. —AFP

VER­SAILLES: French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron (cen­ter) speaks dur­ing a spe­cial congress gath­er­ing both houses of par­lia­ment (Na­tional Assem­bly and Se­nate) in the palace of Ver­sailles, out­side Paris yes­ter­day. — AFP

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