THE HAGUE: Protesters interrupted French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday as he gave a keynote speech about European sovereignty during a state visit to the Netherlands.
The 45-year-old French leader has faced a series of protests and strikes in France against his pension reforms, with a new day of industrial action scheduled for Thursday.
“Where is French democracy? When did we lose it?” shouted the demonstrators, who were in the audience in the Amare theatre in The Hague where Macron was starting his address, AFP journalists saw.
Two female protesters held up a yellow banner saying “President of violence and hypocrisy” while one male protester on the other side of the theatre held a blue banner aloft.
“I can answer this question if you give me some time,” Macron responded.
Security guards escorted the demonstrators out of the hall after about one minute.
A group of around two dozen protesters also chanted slogans outside the theatre before the speech.
Macron went on to say that it was “very important to have a social debate” and that “I can answer all the questions you have on what we are discussing in France”
He said that people who do “whatever (they) want” against laws they disagree with “put democracy at risk”.
Macron is facing the biggest challenge of his second term over his flagship pension overhaul, which includes raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 and demanding people work longer for a full payout.