French president Emmanuel Macron appeared on TV and asked for ‘calm’ from the population, to no avail: protests, blockages and confrontations intensified Thursday, as Syndicates estimate 3,5 million people took to the streets against Macron’s Pension Reform ‘by decree’.
And, now, it surfaces that England’s King Charles III has had to postpone his first state visit, to France, on account of the social instability in the country.
“King Charles III’s state visit to France has been postponed, after a request by President Emmanuel Macron.
[…] Buckingham Palace said the delay was due to the ‘situation in France’.
[…] President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the King on Friday morning, the Elysée Palace said, adding the state visit would be rescheduled as soon as possible, ‘so that his majesty will be welcomed in conditions which correspond to our friendly relationship’.”
The ever increasing protests made the trip impossible, and the last-minute postponement makes Macron lose face. It certainly didn’t help that the City hall in Bordeaux, a city that King Charles was set to visit, was set alight on Thursday night.
It was also a matter of horrible optics: Paris is a city where refuse has been left uncollected since 6 March.
To parade the British Monarch ‘through rubbish- and graffiti-strewn streets, with every public appearance smothered in security, and every movement threatened by strikes’ would defeat the political and PR purpose of the whole visit.
Macron’s out-of-touch plans included a Royal ball in Versailles – the place where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, France’s last king and queen, lived before being guillotined.
The roster of the different categories engaged in the protest is long, with students, union members, garbage men, refinery and harbor workers, fishermen, stevedores, port and railway workers, petrochemical plant employees, and now even firemen and artists like Juliette Binoche, among many others.
Several dozen blocking points are stages throughout France: ports, depots, economic zones, highways… In addition to thousands of Gas stations out of service for lack of fuel, the Paris Airports now may suffer too: department of Civil aviation cancels 33% of flights on Sunday and 20% on Monday. It looks like the refinery strike is on the verge of shutting the airports down.
Police stations had their electricity cut in Paris, security cameras were also affected.
Even minor authorities are not immune: the director of public security for the North, Thierry Courtecuisse, was injured in the city of Lille, after being struck in the face with a stone.
Meanwhile, Macron in Brussels promising Zelensky’s Ukraine more money. He is expected at night at the Stade de France for the France versus Netherlands soccer match. Trouble is expected to follow him there.