Macron faces resistance abroad as well as at home as his visit to the Netherlands is marred by protest
Protests noisily disrupted French president Emmanuel Macron during a state visit to the Netherlands on 11 April. Banner-waving demonstrators shouted “Where is French democracy?” as Macron gave a speech at the Hague in Amsterdam. These referred to the uprising in France over the government’s enforced pension reforms.
The demonstrators stood in an upper tier of the theatre, shouting: “You have millions of protesters in the streets”. They also held up a banner that read “President of Violence and Hypocrisy”:
Hague, Netherlands… Citizens hold a banner during Emmanuel Macron’s speech… “President of violence and hypocrisy”
RESIST 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/eu8O7RhSfB
— Pelham (@Resist_05) April 11, 2023
After security guards removed them, Macron said people who try to undermine laws passed by elected governments “put democracy at risk”. He then cited the 2021 US Capitol riots and a 2023 attack on the Brazilian Congress, both of which were perpetrated by right-wing nationalists and white supremacists.
The opposition didn’t end there, however. Protesters confronted Macron elsewhere on his visit, too:
Protest tegen Macron op het Beursplein #amsterdam #FranceProtests #pensionreform #franceprotest #macron pic.twitter.com/7kCo7veDid
— hansfoto (@hans_foto) April 11, 2023
French President Macron is giving a speech in The Hague in Netherlands but protest is following him here too! pic.twitter.com/wYUww9SF5k
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) April 11, 2023
Opposition followed Macron into day two
Macron’s Dutch visit continued on 12 April. He visited a sold-out exhibition of painter Johannes Vermeer’s works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Then, he engaged in talks with the Netherlands’ prime minister Mark Rutte on a canal boat. He also viewed a science park and signed a “pact for innovation” focusing on cooperation in semiconductors, quantum physics, and energy.
However, protesters were also present on Macron’s second day:
Today students at University of Amsterdam, including those from ROOD, Activistenpartij and Amsterdam Autonomous coalition protested the arrival of Macron at the Amsterdam Science Park. Macron cannot hide in NL, we stand in complete solidarity with the striking workers in France! pic.twitter.com/yKJdQsGAbx
— ROOD, Socialistische Jongeren (@ROODjong) April 12, 2023
#France #Holland. A protester was tackled to the ground by security as Emmanuel #Macron (who pretends nothing has happened) arrived in #Amsterdam. The man sang "We are here, even if Macron doesn't want us, we are here!" pic.twitter.com/misgi8IbjN
— Donato Yaakov Secchi (@doyaksec) April 12, 2023
The visit was also clouded by a row over controversial comments that Macron made about Taiwan, the US, and China. Macron said in an interview with media – including Politico and French business daily Les Echos – that Europe should not be “followers” of the US or China when it came to Taiwan. However, the Élysée Palace insisted that the president had never called for Europe to keep an “equidistance” from the US and China.
French protests continue
People throughout France are still striking and protesting following Macron’s forcing-through of the pension reform. Sky News reported on 11 April that people had blocked power stations across the country, leading to a loss of 8.2 gigawatts of France’s power supply. That is equivalent to 16% of the country’s total. Meanwhile, on 12 April, the city of Nantes faced blockades across its motorway system in an actions that French autonomous media platform Contre Attaque called “Operation Dead City”.
Unions are planning for a twelfth day of national strikes on 13 April.
Featured image via AFP/YouTube
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse
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