King and Queen Consort’s visit to Paris could be disrupted by protests over retirement age | UK News

The first state visit of the King’s reign could be disrupted by fierce protests in France over a plan to raise the retirement age.

Unions have called for more demonstrations to coincide with the King and Queen Consort’s visit to Paris on Sunday.

A banquet at the Palace of Versailles, hosted by President Macron, could be moved or even cancelled, according to local reports.

Protesters scuffle at the end of a rally in Paris Pic: AP
Protesters scuffle at the end of a rally in Paris. Pic: AP
A protester walks past burning garbage bins as French riot police stand in position amid clahes during a demonstration as part of the ninth day of nationwide strikes and protests against French government's pension reform, in Paris, France, March 23, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Hundreds of people marching during a rally in Paris Pic: AP
Hundreds of people marching during a rally in Paris Pic: AP

It is understood the trip’s logistics have been under review for a few days, amid massive protests in the French capital.

Security concerns could mean the royals’ contact with the public is reduced and the impact of the visit diminished.

Large amounts of uncollected rubbish on the streets of Paris could also be embarrassing for Mr Macron and Paris officials.

The couple are due to stay in France until the 29 March, also visiting the Bordeaux region, before heading to Germany.

The unions’ announcement of weekend protests follows a record turnout in Paris against the bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Authorities say 119,000 people marched on Thursday – believed to be the biggest demonstration in the capital in the current wave of protests.

The vast majority of people were peaceful, but police used tear gas to disperse rioters who threw fireworks and other objects.

Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla visit Colchester Castle in Colchester, Britain, March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Radburn/Pool
The King and Queen Consort are due to visit Berlin after they go to Paris

Across France, more than a million people are said to have joined marches on Thursday, a day after Mr Macron forced through the law without a vote.

Protests in cities such as Lyon, Nantes, and Rennes also saw outbreaks of violence.

In Lorient, in western France, the courtyard of a police station was set alight and its windows smashed, while an administrative building was also attacked.

Strikes linked to the pension changes have also disrupted travel across the country, with demonstrations blocking train stations, major city roads, ports and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport.