The great-nephew of French first lady Brigitte Macron, who runs the family’s main chocolate factory, was beaten in an apparently politically motivated assault, police and family sources said on Tuesday.
Jean-Baptiste Trogneux was attacked by anti-government protesters on Monday night outside the famous Trogneux chocolate factory in Amiens, northern France, his father said.
The 30-year-old was hit several times in the head, arms and legs by his attackers, who insulted “the president, his wife and our family” before fleeing, said his father Jean-Alexandre Trogneux.
“They’ve crossed the line. I’m flabbergasted,’ he added, saying his son was being checked by a doctor and awaiting the results of a brain scan.
Local police said they arrested eight people after the attack, which took place shortly after President Macron appeared for an interview with the country’s main television news at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Monday evening.
The six men and two women remained in custody on Tuesday and face charges of assault, sometimes actual bodily harm, and gang violence, a local police source said.
(FILES) This photograph taken on April 25, 2017 shows a general view of the Jean Trogneux chocolate factory in Amiens, northern France, which is owned by the family of Brigitte Macron, wife of the French president. Jean-Baptiste Trogneux was savagely beaten in front of the store
French President Emmanuel Macron walks with his wife Brigitte Macron
Jean-Alexandre Trogneux said: “About forty demonstrators were there after the president’s speech on TF1.
“A dozen of them recognized him and attacked. They beat him, with many blows to the face.
“He was beaten continuously, as he rolled on the ground, trying to defend himself, as they shouted insults at the president and his wife. Neighbors intervened and then fled.
“He now has trauma and is due for a brain scan. There has been an association between our company and Emmanuel Macron since his election, and it has caused huge problems.
“What has happened now has gone too far and I am scared. There is no financial link between the chocolate company Trogenux and the presidential couple, and yet we are targeted.
Brigitte Macron’s family has run the Jean Trogneux chocolate factory in the center of her hometown of Amiens for six generations, specializing in a local sweet almond-based treat known as Macaron d’Amiens.
She met her husband when he was a student and she was a teacher at a private school in the city in the 1990s.
Family business Trogneux, which has since grown in northern France, has been repeatedly targeted by protesters during Macron’s six years in power amid rumors – repeatedly denied – that the first family would have a financial interest in the business.
Brigitte Macron met her husband when he was a student and she was a teacher at a private school in the city in the 1990s
Macron has sparked the biggest protests in a generation over pension system reforms, which include raising the retirement age to 64 from 62 later this year. He pushed through the measures without a parliamentary vote – sparking outrage across the country.
During the April protests, a fire broke out at one of his favorite restaurants in Paris, the upscale brasserie La Rotonde.
But this is the first time that family members have been targeted.
Mr. Macron, 45, and Ms. Macron, 70, were born and raised in Amiens, capital of the Somme department.
She was married with three children when she started a relationship with then-schoolboy Emmanuel Macron.
Unrest at protests in recent years, as well as attacks on the offices of local and state lawmakers, have sparked debate over whether the country is becoming increasingly intolerant and prone to violence.
The mayor of a village in western France announced his resignation last week after a suspected arson attack on his home sparked an outcry among fellow politicians.
Yannick Morez, from the village of Saint Brevin, has been repeatedly targeted by far-right activists for his support for a local center for refugees.
Interior Ministry statistics showed that reported acts of physical or verbal violence against lawmakers rose 32% year-on-year in 2022, when the country held legislative and presidential elections.