King Charles’ state visit to France postponed amid violent pension protests
King Charles’ State Visit to France was called off at the request of Emmanuel Macron as his country is hit by violent protests against his pension reforms.
The French and British governments took the decision after a phone call between Mr Macron and the King, Mr Macron’s office said in a statement.
The King had been due to visit Paris on Sunday and later Bordeaux, where the entrance to the town hall was set alight on Thursday.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said of the deferral of the three-day visit: “Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found.”
King Charles’ visit to Germany from Wednesday will still go ahead.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “This decision was taken with the consent of all parties, after the President of France asked the British Government to postpone the visit.”
France: Anti-Government Protests
The trip had been due to include a ride along the Champs-Elysées in the heart of Paris and a banquet at Versailles with Mr Macron.
Speaking at a summit in Brussels after the announcement, President Macron said it would have lacked “common sense” to have the King visit amid violent protests.
“I think we would not be serious and lack common sense to propose to His Majesty the King and the Queen Consort to come do a state visit in the middle of the demonstrations,” he said.
He added proceeding with Sunday's visit “would have prompted incidents" that would have been “detestable”. The trip is likely to be rescheduled for early summer.
More than one million people demonstrated across France on Thursday against Mr Macron’s unpopular raising of the pension age to 64, with violence erupting in some places.
Marches in Paris were marred by violence, as were protests in other major cities including Nantes, Lyon, and Rennes.
In Bordeaux, the door to Bordeaux City Hall was set on fire and destroyed on Thursday evening by members of an unauthorised demonstration.
In Paris, masked groups clashed with police and attacked at least two fast food restaurants, a supermarket and a bank. Some launched Molotov cocktails and objects at police.
French ministers had earlier insisted that the King would be welcomed and that security “poses no problem”.
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said there was “enormous degrading” of public buildings at some protests on Thursday.
“There are troublemakers, often extreme left, who want to take down the state and kill police and ultimately take over the institutions,” he claimed.
French labour union CGT union had also previously announced this week that its members would not help prepare a Sunday reception for the King upon his arrival in Paris.