Unrest in France prompts postponement of King Charles III visit

Saturday, Mar 25, 2023

PARIS: Violent protests against pension reform in France led to the postponement on Friday of King Charles III´s trip to the country, highlighting the growing security and political problems faced by President Emmanuel Macron.

Charles´ first foreign trip as monarch had been intended to highlight warming Franco-British relations, but it has instead served to underline the severity of demonstrations engulfing Britain´s neighbour.

Macron asked for the postponement during talks on Friday morning, a UK government spokesperson said, with the change blamed on a call for fresh strikes next Tuesday on the second day of the king´s tour.

The decision to postpone was made “in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions which reflect our friendly relations”, a statement from Macron´s office said. More than 450 people were arrested on Thursday and 441 members of the security forces were injured during the most violent day of protests since the start of the year against Macron´s bid to raise the retirement age to 64, according to interior ministry figures.

More than 900 fires were also lit around Paris, with radical anarchist groups blamed for setting uncollected rubbish ablaze and smashing shop windows, leading to frequent clashes with riot police.