Unrest in France prompts postponement of King Charles III visit
A protester (C) addresses a speech next to a fire during a demonstration of Totalenergies striking employees outside the Gronfreville-l'Orcher refinery, northern France, on March 24, 2023, a week after the government pushed a pensions reform through parliament without a vote, using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President faced mounting pressure on March 24, 2023, after violent demonstrations that left more than 400 security forces injured and the centre of major cities shrouded in tear gas and smoke. (Photo by LOU BENOIST / AFP)

PARIS, France (AFP)— Violent protests against pension reform in France led to the postponement 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.

In southwestern Bordeaux, protesters set fire to the ancient wooden entrance to city hall, while other clashes took place in Rennes, Nantes and Toulouse.

Charles III had been set to visit the Bordeaux city hall on Tuesday after a day in Paris on Monday when he was scheduled to address the Senate and attend a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles.

Some Parisians felt the cancellation would avoid further embarrassment for France, with the streets of the capital strewn with rubbish because of a strike by waste collectors and protesters threatening to disrupt the royal visit.

"It would be a wiser decision for him to come in a little while so that we avoid a disaster," Annick Siguret, a retiree in her 60s, told AFP near overflowing bins and a vandalised bank in the capital's ninth district.

The second leg of Charles' European tour -- to Germany -- is expected to proceed as scheduled on Wednesday.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?