Attilio Maggiulli has driven his car into the rear gate of the Elysee Palace, the Paris residence of French President Francois Hollande.
Attilio Maggiulli, 67, a theatre director of Italian nationality, was arrested as he tried to force his way through the Grille du Coq gate on Thursday.
Police officials said he was protesting against cuts in subsidies to his small theatre in Paris.
Attilio Maggiulli had already been arrested on Wednesday near the Elysee Palace after pulling a Harlequin puppet from his car and setting it alight.
“He then threw around some leaflets denouncing the cuts in subsidies for his theatre,” a police source told Reuters news agency.
Police had arrested Attilio Maggiulli but let him go shortly afterwards.
He was slightly injured in the collision and has been taken to a Paris hospital.
Police sources said he runs a 100-seat theatre in the Montparnasse district.
Attilio Maggiulli has been arrested on suspicion of endangering the lives of others.
“If his aim was to be talked about, he has succeeded. But he may have to pay for that,” a source close to the investigation told AFP.
A local shopkeeper told Le Parisien newspaper she had “heard an almighty bang and seen a grey car”.
“The police and Republican Guards came quickly and pulled out an unconscious man from the vehicle,” she said.
The 19th-century gate was reportedly only scratched in the crash, which happened at slow speed.
It is not clear if President Francois Hollande was in the palace at the time of the incident.
Francois Hollande has pushed though cuts to the French cultural budget in an effort to reduce the government’s deficit.
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