During his visit to the Council of Europe in Iceland, President Macron said the violence is “unacceptable and it shocks everyone.”

French first lady Brigitte Macron made a rare statement Tuesday condemning a physical attack on her great-grandson that took place on the sidelines of a demonstration against her husband’s controversial pension reform.

Police said eight people were arrested in the northern French city of Amiens in connection with the Monday night assault on Jean-Baptiste Trogneux, 30, who runs a family chocolate shop.

Brigitte Macron called the attack “cowardice, stupidity and violence”.

“I am in full solidarity with my family and have been in contact at all times since 11pm yesterday,” she said. “I have on several occasions condemned this kind of violence which can only lead to the worst.”

Trogneux is said to have been on 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 it shocks everyone…As an uncle, I consider these acts unacceptable, and as president of the republic, they are unspeakable.”

The president said Monday night on French TV network TF1 that he would press ahead with unpopular pension reforms that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The change was the focus of months of anti-government protests and some of the worst social unrest the country has seen in decades.