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'No plans' to change Charles III visit to strike-hit France

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
'No plans' to change Charles III visit to strike-hit France
Britain's King Charles III will visit France on Sunday. Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP

There are no plans to change King Charles III's state visit to France next week despite social disorder rocking the country, the UK government said Thursday.

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"We certainly don't get into the realms of dictating that sort of thing to His Majesty. That will be a decision for them," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman told reporters.

But he added: "I'm not aware of any plans to change the plan."

Charles and his wife Camilla are due to be in France from Sunday to Wednesday, and then in Germany, for the first state visits abroad of his reign following the death last September of Queen Elizabeth II.

Charles will join President Emmanuel Macron for a ceremony of remembrance at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and for a banquet at the Palace of Versailles, before heading on to Bordeaux in the southwest.

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Some French opposition politicians have queried whether the trip should go ahead as anti-Macron protesters clash with riot police. Charles risks facing rubbish-strewn streets and transport strikes.

"We are keeping an eye on how things are developing politically and the security situation," a source at the British embassy in Paris told AFP.

"That will continue right up to the visit."

The CGT union representing staff at France's National Furniture service, which is responsible for red carpets among other items, said on Wednesday they would strike during the sovereign's visit.

"We're aware that the king of England will be welcomed in France this weekend and our services will be required," a statement said, adding that the visit would take place "without us".

"We ask our managers to point out to the ministry of culture that any request for furnishings will be seen immediately by workers as a provocation," the statement added.

But a spokesman for the National Furniture service told AFP that only 24 members of staff were on strike on Thursday out of 420.

"The red carpet has been delivered and the trade unions have assured us that they will not block the work of non-striking staff," Loic Turpin said.

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