French first lady Brigitte Macron released a rare statement on Tuesday condemning a physical assault on her great-grandson on the sidelines of a demonstration against her husband’s disputed pension reform.
Police said eight people were arrested in the northern French city of Amiens in connection with Monday night’s assault on Jean-Baptiste Trogneux, 30, who runs a family chocolate shop.
Brigitte Macron denounced the “cowardice, stupidity and violence” of the assault.
“I am in full solidarity with my family and have been in constant contact since 11pm yesterday,” he said. “I have repeatedly denounced this type of violence which can only lead to the worst”.
Trogneux was reportedly making his way to his apartment above the chocolate shop when he was attacked. His father, Jean-Alexandre Trogneux, said the attackers insulted “the president, his wife and our family” before fleeing.
From the Council of Europe in Iceland, French President Emmanuel Macron called the violence “unacceptable and shocking everyone… As an uncle, I consider these actions unacceptable and as President of the Republic, they are unspeakable”.
The president told French television network TF1 on Monday evening that he will continue with unpopular pension reforms that will raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The change has been at the center of months of anti-government protests and some of the worst social unrest the country has seen in decades.