King Charles state visit to France postponed amid violent pension protests

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(CNN) — King Charles's state visit to France has been postponed amid planned protests over the French government's controversial pension reforms.

Both France's Élysée Palace and Buckingham Palace confirmed the trip had been shelved on Friday morning.

The British monarch and Queen Consort were supposed to visit the country from Sunday through Wednesday, and they would have traveled to Paris and the southwestern city of Bordeaux. However a decision to postpone the visit was made after demonstrations turned violent in some areas, including Bordeaux, on Thursday.

Clashes between groups of protesters angry over proposed pension reforms and police broke out after workers staged a national strike throughout Thursday, with flare-ups in Paris and regional capitals. In Bordeaux, demonstrators set fire to the entrance of the city hall during skirmishes with police, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

The Élysée Palace said in a statement that the King's state visit "will be rescheduled as soon as possible."

"In view of yesterday's announcement of a new national day of action against pension reform on Tuesday, March 28 in France, the visit of King Charles III, originally scheduled for March 26-29 in our country, will be postponed," the statement read.

"This decision was taken by the French and British governments, after a telephone exchange between the President of the Republic and the King this morning, in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions that correspond to our friendly relationship," it continued.

'Common sense'

French President Emmanuel Macron shed light on the decision to reschedule the royal visit, saying his government would have lacked "common sense" to proceed amid the protests.

"I think that we would not be serious and we would lack a certain common sense to propose to His Majesty the King and the Queen Consort to come for a state visit in the middle of the demonstrations," Macron told journalists during a news conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday.

The French leader said it was out of "esteemed respect" for Charles and Camilla that he had "taken the initiative" to reach out on Friday to explain the situation.

He added that the visit would be reorganized "when calm is restored" and that "we have proposed that, at the beginning of the summer, according to our respective agendas, we can together decide on a new state visit that corresponds to both the way of receiving the new King and Queen Consort and to do it in conditions that will allow him to enjoy France, Paris as well as Bordeaux."

Macron concluded by confirming that he would be attending Charles's coronation in London on May 6.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson also confirmed the postponement to CNN, adding: "Their Majesties greatly look forward to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found."

A UK government spokesperson also confirmed the King would not travel to France next week, adding that "this decision was taken with the consent of all parties, after the President of France asked the British Government to postpone the visit."

Charles and Camilla were due to travel from France to Germany on Wednesday for a state visit. The second leg of the trip is still expected to go ahead.

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