King Charles faces protests on state visit to France: ‘We’re going to welcome him with a good old general strike!’
King Charles faces protests from pensions demonstrators on his state visit to France.
The 74-year-old monarch is due to arrive in Bordeaux at noon on Tuesday March 28 with his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, 75, where they were due take a tram from the regional station into the city centre.
Their planned mode of transport may now have been abandoned after trade unionists and politicians pledged to disrupt the visit with strikes and riots.
Left-wing political figure Olivier Besancenot told French media: “We are going to welcome (Charles) with a good old general strike.
“We are engaged in a battle, there will be a winner and a loser.”
Dissenters are furious the royals will be in France during a period of intense social unrest caused by President Emmanuel Macron, who last week sparked uproar by raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.
Protesters are set to target a banquet with Charles and Camilla at Versailles and a trip to the South West city of Bordeaux from Sunday to Wednesday, with demonstrators set to include drivers refusing to drive a tram the royals were due to use.
Pascal Mesgueni from the French Confederation of Christian Workers union told the Sud Ouest (South West) newspaper: “It’s almost certain that the King will not be able to take the tram.
“This is a grassroots request. No driver will want to drive it and there will be no supervisors or managers – just protesters on the track.
“The tram will be blocked by vehicles in front and behind, the logistics will be a huge risk.
“And don’t forget the risk of projectiles... it’s going to be way too complicated.”
Sources told the Daily Mail officials will be keeping a “close eye” on the situation amid fears for Charles and Camilla’s safety, though there is no suggestion their visit will be cancelled.
President Macron, 45, has been slammed as a “republican monarch” in France, where there has been a week of riots since he forced his pension reform through despite massive public opposition to the plan.
His planned state banquet with Charles at the Palace of Versailles – which was the former home of France’s kings and queens until the French Revolution of 1789 – has sparked some protesters to threaten politicians with the Guillotine.