Far-right group militants go on trial for Macron assassination plot
The main remaining accusation is a charge of conspiring to commit a terrorist act.
PARIS (AFP) - A dozen people with links to a French far-right group go on trial Tuesday, accused of plotting to assassinate President Emmanuel Macron and commit a string of other attacks.
Prosecutors say the 13 members of the group, Les Barjols, conspired to engineer a putsch, which involved a plan for an attack on Macron during a public appearance in 2018.
Citing evidence collected online, from telephone conversations and meetings, they say the suspects also planned to kill migrants, and attack mosques.
None of the plots allegedly prepared by the 11 men and two women aged between 26 and 66 ever came to anything, which caused prosecutors to downgrade some of the initial charges over the course of their four-year investigation.
The main remaining accusation is a charge of conspiring to commit a terrorist act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
A lawyer for the defence, Lucile Collot, said the prosecution’s case was based "on the fiction that a violent act was going to happen", calling the accusation of a planned terrorist act "misplaced".
In 2018, France’s domestic intelligence services received a tip-off saying that a far-right militant based in the French Alps region, Jean-Pierre Bouyer, was planning to attack Macron during a World War I peace treaty centenary commemoration in November of that year.
French anti-terror prosecutors began investigating on October 31, against a backdrop of boiling social anger in France over rising fuel prices which was later to result in the creation of the Yellow Vest protest movement.