An official state visit to France by King Charles III and his wife Camilla has been canceled after anti-monarchy graffiti appeared during the riots. President Emmanuel Macron has decided it is not safe for the king and queen consort to travel to his country after guillotine and death threats surfaced.
Graffiti “Death to the King” and “Charles III, do you know what a guillotine is?” appeared during the riots in Paris’s Place de la Concorde, thesun.co.uk reports.
The graffiti was displayed on the spot where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined after the French Revolution. This was the site of the country’s fiercest protests against the raising of the age from which French people can claim state pensions.
But despite the graffiti, it is believed the royal couple were not directly threatened.
Charles III and Camilla were due to embark on a three-day trip to Paris and Bordeaux on March 25. But after a night of violence in both cities, a distraught Macron called the king and canceled the meeting.
Up to a million people took part in protests on Thursday night, with some setting fire to overflowing rubbish bins, clashing with police and torching the city hall where the royal couple was due to visit.
During the first state 74-year-old Charles III and 75-year-old Camilla’s visit was to be accompanied by a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles. However, the authorities could not ensure the couple’s safety.
Some also said the banquet could have been Macron’s “Marie Antoinette moment” amid riots in France.
The president said it would have been ugly if the visit had been marred by violence.
He said: “I don’t think it would have been wise for us to have offered His Majesty the King and Queen Consort a state visit in the middle of the demonstrations.”
But Eric Ciotti, leader of the Republican Party, said: “The government has canceled Charles III’s visit due to social unrest. What kind of image does this give to our country, which is not even able to ensure the security of the head of state?”
Protesting since the beginning of the year
The French have been protesting since January when President Macron passed laws without a parliamentary vote to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Striking union members refused to go to work and roll out red carpets for the state visit and refused to transport the royal couple on a tram in Bordeaux.
In Paris alone, where garbage collectors have been on strike for more than a week, a thousand garbage cans were set on fire.
On Thursday night, 500 protesters were arrested in violent clashes that forced hundreds of police to use tear gas, batons and water cannons after eight days of unrest.
Bandits also set fire to Bordeaux city hall.
French security officials fear the situation is so bad that the king could be attacked as he walks around the city and meets people.
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