French unions to hold protests to coincide with King’s state visit
A lavish banquet at the Palace of Versailles hosted by President Macron could be moved or even cancelled as a furious backlash to the French leader’s plans continues to gain momentum.
The president is facing intense public anger for pushing through a bill raising the retirement age to 64 without a vote in the French Parliament.
The move has seen Anti-Macron protests swell to an all-time high, with over 10,000 tonnes of rubbish lining the streets of Paris after binmen withdrew their labour.
Observers say the optics could not be worse for both Charles and the president, with a Buckingham Palace source saying the situation ‘was being monitored.’
Union representatives of French workers responsible for ceremonial trappings, like red carpets, have also said its members would not prepare a welcome for the King and Queen Consort when they arrive on Sunday.
‘It’s very bad timing. Normally the French would welcome a British king. But in this moment, people protesting are on high alert for any sign of privilege and wealth,’ said Paris-based writer Stephen Clarke, the author of Elizabeth II, Queen of Laughs.
The King and his wife will travel to Paris this weekend then visit Berlin from March 29-31, during a trip which a source said previously was planned in an ‘extraordinarily positive’ atmosphere by all.
But French labour union CGT union announced this week that its members at Mobilier National, the institution in charge of providing flags, red carpets and furniture for public buildings, would not help prepare a Sunday reception for the king upon his arrival in Paris.
‘We ask our administration to inform the services concerned that we will not provide furnishings, red carpets or flags,’ a CGT statement read.
The Elysee Palace, the French president’s official residence, has said non-striking workers would set up the necessary accoutrements for the trip.
Some opponents accuse the president of being out-of-touch, and Charles has come in for similar criticism as protests continued this week which could overshadow the royal tour if they continue.
Source of data and images: metro