France’s Macron heckled by protesters in the Netherlands

Pension reform tensions in France and controversial comments about Taiwan cloud Macron’s trip to the Netherlands.

Protesters disrupted French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in the Netherlands about Europe’s future as he faces mass protests over pension reform back home.

Security officials detained a demonstrator who shouted at Macron outside Amsterdam University on Wednesday in the latest disturbance during the French president’s state visit to the Netherlands.

“For the honour of the workers – even if Macron doesn’t like it we are here,” the protester shouted before he could be seen being pinned to the ground by several officers.

France’s leader is confronting the biggest challenge of his second term after pushing through his flagship pension overhaul, which includes raising the retirement age from 62 years to 64.

“Where is French democracy?” shouted banner-waving demonstrators as Macron addressed a largely student audience on Tuesday.

The protesters gathered in an upper tier of a theatre in The Hague and shouted, “You have millions of protesters in the streets” while holding up a banner that read “President of Violence and Hypocrisy”.

After security guards removed them, Macron said people who try to undermine laws passed by elected governments “put democracy at risk”, citing the 2021 US Capitol riots and a 2023 attack on the Brazilian Congress.

‘Its own interests’

Macron’s visit to the Netherlands was also clouded by a row over controversial comments he made about Taiwan.

The French president sparked controversy in recent days after he said in an interview Europe should not be “followers” of the United States or China when it came to Taiwan.

The remarks drew praise in China – which bristles at US support of what it sees as a breakaway province – but raised eyebrows among Western allies.

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