Activists arrested on suspicion of planning G7 attack

The logo of the upcoming August 2019 G7 Summit in Biarritz is seen during the Interior ministers of G7 nations meeting in Paris, France, April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

French authorities have arrested five people for encouraging attacks on a hotel slated to accommodate police during this weekend’s G7 summit, international news agencies have reported.

The arrests occurred on Monday, just days ahead of the summit chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron, who will be hosting the US President Donald Trump, German leader Angela Merkel and Britain’s Boris Johnson in the resort town of Biarritz.

The Interior Minister Christophe Castaner had said that protesters will have difficulty getting up close to any of the seven leaders, as France would be deploying 13,200 police backed up by soldiers and drones to make sure they are kept far from the summit.

CNA news reported that several of the suspects are young members of radical anti-capitalist groups known as “black blocs”, which played a major role in the violent street protests that rocked Paris and other French cities over the past months.

The investigation is believed to have been triggered after a woman living in the area posted a message online pinpointing a hotel where gendarmes policing the summit will stay.

Four people who are suspected of issuing calls to “burn down” the hotel were arrested in locations including Hendaye, south of Biarritz, and Loire Valley town of Tours. One of the arrested is believed to have a police record for violence during a demonstration.

A raft of unprecedented security measures has been put in place ahead of the summit, with the resort on lockdown and its picturesque Grand Plage beach off-limits to everyone except delegates and those accredited for the summit. Its airport will also be closed to scheduled flights.

Activists will be hosting a gathering about 20 kilometres away, pressuring security forces to ensure that there are no disruptions in a country that has been hit by months of anti-government protests.