Britons travelling to France warned amid fears of violence at protests

·2-min read
People sit in a bar as riot police stand guard during a demonstration against the French government's pension reform, in Paris (REUTERS)
People sit in a bar as riot police stand guard during a demonstration against the French government's pension reform, in Paris (REUTERS)

Britons travelling to France have been warned to “avoid demonstrations wherever possible” as hundreds of thousands of workers were set to go out on a national strike on Tuesday.

The advice, published by the Foreign Office, also highlighted the threat of protests turning violent.

It states: “Since mid-March there have been spontaneous protests in central Paris and elsewhere in France.

“Protests are likely to take place and could occur with little notice. Some protests have turned violent. The protests may lead to disruptions to road travel.

“There is also ongoing strike action affecting multiple sectors including transport networks.

“Coordinated strike action and large-scale demonstrations are next planned for Tuesday 28 March. Industrial action may start the evening before the strike day and run for several days.”

It adds: “If you’re due to travel to or within France, check the website of your chosen operator for the latest information before you set off.

“Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities.”

Unions have called for a tenth national day of strikes and protests on Tuesday against Emmanuel Macron’s new pension law that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Walk-outs were expected in Paris and towns and cities across the country.

Some of the recent demonstrations have turned violent, with dozens of police officers injured and scores of arrests.

In the capital, the Louvre Museum has closed to the public after its staff took part in the wave of French protest strikes.

Dozens of Louvre employees blocked the entrance, prompting the museum to announce it would be temporarily closed.

The demonstrators waved banners and flags in front of the Louvre’s famed pyramid, where Mr Macron had celebrated his presidential victory in 2017.

The action came on the eve of Tuesday’s planned action and as Mr Macron holds a meeting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to discuss the crisis.

So drastically has Mr Macron lost the initiative that he was forced to indefinitely postpone a planned state visit to France this week by King Charles III.

Germany, not France, will now get the honour of being the first overseas ally to host Charles as monarch.

The Royal visit was cancelled amid fears that a state banquet for the King at the Palace of Versailles could have been targeted by protestors.