Fears for King and Queen Consort’s first state visit as violent protests continue


The King’s first state visit of his reign could be disrupted by ongoing French protests against President Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age.

Unions have called for more demonstrations to coincide with the King and Queen Consort’s visit to Paris, due to take place on Sunday.

A banquet at the Palace of Versailles hosted by Mr Macron could be moved or even cancelled, according to local reports.

Protesters scuffle at the end of a rally in Paris Pic: AP
Protesters scuffle at the end of a rally in Paris. Pic: AP
A protester walks past burning garbage bins as French riot police stand in position amid clahes during a demonstration as part of the ninth day of nationwide strikes and protests against French government's pension reform, in Paris, France, March 23, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Hundreds of people marching during a rally in Paris Pic: AP
Hundreds of people marching during a rally in Paris Pic: AP

It is understood the trip’s logistics have been under review for some days, amid massive protests in the French capital.

Security concerns could mean the royals’ contact with the public is reduced.

After France, the King and the Queen Consort are scheduled to visit Berlin from 29-31 March.

The unions’ announcement of weekend protests follows a record turnout in Paris against the government’s unpopular bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.

More on France

French authorities say 119,000 people marched through the capital on Thursday, believed to be the biggest demonstration there in the current wave of protests.

The vast majority were peaceful but police used tear gas to disperse rioters who threw objects and fireworks at them.

Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla visit Colchester Castle in Colchester, Britain, March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Radburn/Pool
The King and Queen Consort are due to visit Berlin after they go to Paris

Across France, more than one million people are said to have joined marches on Thursday in opposition to Mr Macron forcing through the law without a vote the day before.

The protests sometimes turned violent, while strikes have disrupted travel across the country, with demonstrations blocking train stations, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and ports.

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