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France's first lady calls out 'cowardice' of attack on her great-nephew on sidelines of pension reform protest

France's first lady has condemned the "cowardice" and "stupidity" of a physical attack on her great-nephew which took place on the sidelines of a protest against pension reforms.

Police said eight people were arrested in the northern French city of Amiens in connection with the attack on Monday.

Jean-Baptiste Trogneux, 30, who runs a family chocolate shop, was reportedly heading to his apartment above his store when he was targeted.

His father, Jean-Alexandre Trogneux, said the assailants insulted "the president, his wife and our family" before making an escape.

In a rare statement, Brigitte Macron called out the assault's "cowardice, stupidity and violence".

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"I am in full solidarity with my family and have been in touch constantly since 11pm yesterday," she said.

"I have on several occasions denounced this kind of violence that can only lead to the worst."

Read more:
French court approves plans to raise pension age
One of Macron's favourite restaurants set on fire
Protester in critical condition and 16 officers injured in clashes

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called the violence "unacceptable" while giving a speech in Iceland.

The president said on Monday evening on the French TV network TF1 that he would continue with unpopular pension reforms that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The reforms were approved by France's highest constitutional court in April.

The plans sparked widespread protests after Mr Macron's government invoked Article 49.3 to push the changes through without a vote by MPs.

Protesters clashed with police shortly after the court's decision was announced, with teargas used on a group of demonstrators in Lyon, while bikes were also set on fire in the French capital, Paris.