King Charles’s France visit postponed amid ongoing protests
Amid ongoing protests across France against the government’s decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, an upcoming three-day visit by the UK’s King Charles III to Paris has been postponed at the suggestion of French President Emmanuel Macron.
London/Paris: Amid ongoing protests across France against the government’s decision to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, an upcoming three-day visit by the UK’s King Charles III to Paris has been postponed at the suggestion of French President Emmanuel Macron.
In a statement on Friday, the Buckingham Palace said the decision to postpone the visit by the King and Queen Consort Camilla was due to the “situation in France”, reports the BBC.
“Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found,” the statement added.
The trip to Paris and Bordeaux was due to begin on Sunday.
On Thursday, the two cities witnessed some of the worst violence since the anti-government demonstrations began in January.
While suggesting to postpone the visit, Macron said that from the moment on Thursday night when the labour unions announced a 10th national day of action for March 28, he felt it would be inappropriate for the British Royals to travel to France.
“As we have considerable friendship, respect and esteem for His Majesty and the Queen Consort and the British people, I took the initiative this morning to call (the King) and explain the situation… Common sense and friendship led us to suggest a postponement,” the BBC quoted the French President as saying in a statement.
Macron further said that his country has proposed moving the trip to early summer, “when things calm down again”.
The UK government also added the decision had been “taken with the consent of all parties”.
Several French cities saw violence on the sidelines of Thursday’s largely peaceful demonstrations that attracted more than a million people, reports the BBC.
While the entrance to the town hall in Bordeaux was set alight, in Paris, tear gas was fired.
According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, 903 fires were lit in Paris where garbage has been left uncollected since March 6.
Hundreds of police officers were hurt across France, but protesters were injured by stun grenades and the Council of Europe said there was no justification for “excessive force” by authorities.
The trip by King Charles was deemed to be a hugely important one as it would a first state visit since he became the monarch, and as well as to one of the UK’s closest and oldest allies.
The King and Camilla were due to ride along the Champs-Elysees in the heart of Paris and have a banquet at Versailles with President Macron.
Camilla was expected to open an art exhibition at one of the main Paris attractions, the Musee d’Orsay.
They were then expected to head to Bordeaux.
The King and Camilla were due to travel from France to Germany on March 29.
Charles’s first state visit will instead begin in Berlin.