March 27, 2023: King Charles III’s visit to France has been delayed as protests continue over the Paris government’s pension system reforms.
This trip was due to be the recent British monarch’s initial state visit and was scheduled to start from March 26 to March 29.
On Thursday, Unions called for a National Day of Action involving strikes and protests on March 28.
The French and British administrations decided to cancel the visit after a phone call between French President Emmanuel Macron and King Charles, the statement said.
Street protests have intensified recently after the government announced it would use special constitutional powers in its unpopular pension bill all the lower house of parliament without a vote.
King Charles was because of the visit to Paris and Bordeaux, both of which had tense protests. The BBC reported that Bordeaux town hall was on fire, although the flames were sooner extinguished.
In Paris and different cities, tear gas and water cannons are firing at protesters, and police control has been problematic.
The pension bill will increase the national retirement ages from 62 to 64 for most workers or by a similar number of years at a lower age for public sector manual employees. It will also lift the years someone is paying into the system to get a full pension from 42 to 43 from 2027.
The government has survived two zero-confidence motions filed by coalitions of opposition lawmakers.
In a televised discussion with channels TF1 and France 2 on Wednesday, Macron forced that the reforms were needed to balance the books and shore up the pension system for the coming days.
Unions have slammed the changes, and how they have been passed as undemocratic is attacking employees’ people.
Macron stated that he wanted to relate with unions but accused them of dying to talk over the reforms. He also said the peaceful demonstration is legitimate but stated that a few protests led to unacceptable disruption and violence.
The French president’s popularity ratings have fluctuated during the controversy. On Thursday, Elabe votes found that 71% of respondents who watched his ask did not find it appealing, while 61% said it would lead to more anger.