and then wait TEN paragraphs in to really mention the protests but then it's back to state visits and the really important stuff. Brave and fearless.
King Charles’s visit to France postponed amid protests
Emmanuel Macron says it would not have been ‘serious or good sense’ for next week’s visit to go ahead
Emmanuel Macron has defended the last-minute postponement of King Charles’s state visit to France next week, saying it would not have been “serious or good sense” for it to go ahead as it clashed with another national day of mass strikes and social unrest.
The king had been scheduled to arrive in France on Sunday on his first state visit as monarch. He was due to visit Paris and Bordeaux before heading to Germany on Wednesday.
Asked if the cancellation was humiliating for France, the French president replied: “What would have been detestable for the British people, as well as for ourselves would have been to maintain it with (possible) incidents in the process.”
In a statement earlier in the day, the Élysée Palace said the decision to postpone the visit had been taken by the French and British governments following a telephone conversation between Macron and Charles on Friday morning after mass protests against the French government the previous day.
“From the moment last night when the unions announced a new day of mobilisation on Tuesday and the king’s visit was scheduled for Monday to Wednesday, I think it would not be serious and would lack a certain common sense to propose to his majesty the king and queen consort to come on a state visit in the midst of demonstrations,” Macron said.
“As we have much friendship, respect and esteem for his majesty the king and queen consort and the British people, I took the initiative and called him to tell him the situation and the announcement of a new day of action and good sense and friendship led us to propose a postponement.”
He added: “When calm returns perhaps at the beginning depending on our diaries we can schedule a new state visit and we can welcome the new king and queen consort in conditions that will allow them to enjoy Paris as well as Bordeaux.”
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The king and the queen consort’s state visit to France has been postponed. Their ajesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found.”
People angry at the French president were continuing protests on Friday after mass demonstrations on Thursday and had planned a further day of action next Tuesday during the royal visit.
The Élysée statement said it hoped to welcome the king “in conditions that correspond our friendly relations” and that the visit would be rescheduled “as soon as possible”.
More than 450 protesters were arrested on Thursday as about 300 demonstrations drew more than a million people nationwide to protest against unpopular pension changes that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Unions said more than 3 million people took to the streets to demonstrate against a fiercely contested law that was pushed through parliament without a vote last week.
The president and his wife, Brigitte, had been due to host a banquet for Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, at the former royal palace at Versailles, which critics viewed as having echoes of Marie Antoinette feasting while Paris revolted.
Fabien Villedieu, of the Sud-Rail union, had called on protesters to demonstrate at Versailles. “We have two kings today; one in England and one in France. Let’s all go to Versailles and give them a proper welcome,” Villedieu told BFM TV.
Olivier Besancenot, of the New Anticapitalist party, had said: “We’ll welcome Charles III with a good old general strike.”
On Thursday, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the radical left La France Insoumise (LFI) told French television that the king was welcome in France but “it is not the right time”.
After learning that the visit had been postponed, Mélenchon tweeted: “The meeting of kings at Versailles broken up by popular demand.” Raquel Garrido, an LFI MP added: “Two kings were due to meet at Versailles. One down. One to go.”
After their arrival at Orly airport for the three-day visit on Sunday, and a welcome by the French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, the programme included a ceremony under the Arc de Triomphe and a visit to the Musée d’Orsay. Charles was due to give a speech at the Sénat, the upper house of the French parliament. The royal couple was then due to travel by train to Bordeaux on Tuesday to witness the devastation caused by last summer’s wildfires, before marking the opening of the British consulate in the city and visiting an organic vineyard.
Shortly before the announcement that the visit was to be postponed, the interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, was still insisting the visit would go ahead despite threats of disruption. “We are obviously ready to welcome him [the king] in excellent conditions,” he said.
However, there were threats to disrupt the visit. French strikers had reportedly refused to literally roll out the red carpet, while the powerful CGT union had said in a statement: “We will not be doing the furnishings, the red carpets or other flags and decorations.” Officials at Mobilier National, the government agency responsible for the state’s furniture and fittings, insisted enough people would be found to do so.
About 4,000 police and gendarmes were expected to be mobilised for the state visit, which would have put additional pressure on law and order forces already stretched from policing weeks of protests.
“What does it say about a country that it is unable to welcome with dignity one of its closest allies because of the obstinacy of its president,” Julien Bayou, an MP with Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, said.
Éric Ciotti, the leader of the opposition conservative party Les Républicains, added: “What an image for our country to not be able to ensure the security of a head of state.”
...no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party...So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.
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