King Charles’ visit scrapped as France burns

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PARIS – King Charles III’s trip to France was postponed Friday as protests continue to rock the country.

A statement from the Elysée Palace said: “The decision was taken by the French and British governments, following a phone call between the president of the Republic and the king this morning.”

France has faced social unrest and outbursts of violence since Emmanuel Macron forced through a deeply unpopular pensions reform, using a controversial constitutional maneuver to bypass a vote in parliament. On Thursday, a day of nationwide protests descended into chaos with running battles between police and protesters and fires lit in Paris.

The Elysée said the decision to postpone was taken because a new day of protests was planned for Tuesday, and was expected to disrupt Charles’ itinerary in France.

“The decision [to postpone] was taken to welcome his majesty King Charles III in the conditions that correspond to our friendship,” said the statement.

Charles and the Queen Consort Camilla were expected to arrive on Sunday, and spend time in Paris and Bordeaux, before setting off for Germany. The German leg of the visit is still expected to go ahead.

A U.K. government spokesperson said: “The King and Queen Consort’s State Visit to France has been postponed. This decision was taken with the consent of all parties, after the President of France asked the British Government to postpone the visit.”

Both French and British figures voiced anxiety in recent days that Charles’s first overseas visit would be disrupted or overshadowed by the social unrest.