Parisians react to King Charles pullout Not the best time to come

Paris: Many Parisians said Friday that they were relieved that King Charles planned trip to the city had been postponed given the state of the capital´s rubbish-strewn streets and persistent demonstrations.

The British monarch´s visit with his wife Camilla from Sunday was set to cast France even further into the glare of the international media at a time when the country is riven by violent protests over pension reform.

“It´s really not the best time to come,” Alix Gardini, a 23-year-old intern told AFP while smoking her cigarette in the second district of the city where garbage piles were set on fire on Thursday during violent demonstrations.

“If I was the king, I wouldn´t come. With all the chaos, it could be dangerous,” she added.

Annick Siguret, a retiree in her 60s, told AFP that she too thought postponing the visit was in everyone´s interests.

“It would be a wiser decision for him to come in a little while so that we avoid a disaster,” she said near overflowing bins and a vandalised bank in the capital´s ninth district.

Charles´ first foreign trip as monarch had been intended to highlight warming Franco-British relations, but calls for fresh demonstrations next week prompted President Emmanuel Macron to ask the king to postpone.

The decision was made “in order to be able to welcome His Majesty King Charles III in conditions which reflect our friendly relations”, a statement from Macron´s office said.

“It´s a great thing for France to host the king, it shows the reconciliation of our two nations after a few difficult years, but this is not the right time,” Laurent Costa, a 52-year-old archaeologist, told AFP.

Garbage collectors have been on strike in Paris for the last two weeks.

Trade unionists had also suggested they might disrupt Charles´ travel plans, which included a visit to Bordeaux in the southwest on Tuesday.

Hugo Rapi, a 22-year-old real estate agent, thought Macron was seeking to protect France´s reputation from further damage after scenes of clashes, strikes and blockades were beamed around the world on Thursday.

“Macron simply wants to project a good image for France,” he explained.

Some observers had stressed how Charles´ arrival and a planned state banquet on Monday evening in the Palace of Versailles were politically awkward for Macron as he grapples with his biggest crisis since being re-elected in April.

“He (Macron) should cancel this visit,” senior Greens MP Sandrine Rousseau told the BFM news channel on Wednesday. “Is it really the priority to welcome Charles III in Versailles? Of course not.” (AFP)


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