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King Charles’s visit to France postponed amid protests

The French Presidency says King Charles III’s planned state visit will be postponed in the wake of violent protests over pension reforms.

March 25, 2023
By Dominique Vidalon
25 March 2023

The state visit of King Charles to France will be postponed amid tensions over pension reform, the French Presidency says.

The French and British governments took the decision following a phone call between President Emmanuel Macron and the King, the statement said.

Black-clad anarchists fought street battles with police for several hours in the French capital on Thursday, ransacking a McDonald’s restaurant, smashing up bus shelters and setting alight mounds of garbage that have piled up during strikes.

In Bordeaux, at the heart of one of France’s best-known wine-growing areas and where King Charles was also expected to visit, protesters set alight the entrance to the city hall.

Trade unions had said they would not let up in their struggle to force President Emmanuel Macron into a u-turn on raising the retirement age by two years to 64. 

The next day of nationwide street protests was planned for Tuesday – during King Charles’ visit.

The visit would have been Charles’s first since becoming monarch.

Macron had hoped King Charles’s visit would mark a symbolic step in the two countries’ efforts to turn a page after years of poor relations in the post-Brexit era.

The royal visit was to have included events at the Musee d’Orsay art gallery and Arc de Triomphe monument, as well as a state banquet, before the king travelled to Bordeaux by train.

Bordeaux Mayor Pierre Hurmic said earlier cancelling the King’s visit to Bordeaux would only spur the anarchists on.

“Cancel King Charles’s visit to Bordeaux? I do not wish to make that gift to rioters,” he said.

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