Protestors interrupt French president Macron’s speech in The Hague

Macron looks at one of the demonstrators. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen ANP
Macron looks at one of the demonstrators. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen ANP

French president Emmanuel Macron was interrupted by protesters while giving a speech in The Hague at the start of his two-day state visit to the Netherlands.

Demonstrators on the balcony of the Amare concert hall unfurled banners describing him as the ‘president of violence and hypocrisy’. They shouted ‘I think we lost something: where is French democracy?’ in English.

Macron was giving a speech in English on the future of Europe. He tried to answer the demonstrators but was shouted down and had to stop until they were removed from the theatre. ‘It is very important to debate,’ Macron said as he resumed speaking.

Macron’s speech on Tuesday afternoon came just days after he said in an interview with Politico that Europe must not be a ‘follower’ of either Washington or Beijing on the issue of Taiwan.

Commentators say the comments ‘threaten to overshadow’ the visit to the Netherlands, which is meant to highlight the strong relationship between the two countries.

In his speech Macron renewed his vision of the importance of European sovereignty, saying it is crucial that Europe is not dependent on countries outside the EU.

He outlined how important it is that the EU can choose its own partners and ‘shape its own destiny’ rather than be ‘a mere witness [to] the dramatic evolution of this world’.

This, he said, ‘means that we must strive to be rule-makers rather than rule-takers’.

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