April 11, 2023 –THE HAGUE – Demonstrators disrupted French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech on Tuesday in The Hague. Several protesters shouted at him from the balcony, while holding unfurled banners. On one, Macron was described as the “president of violence and hypocrisy.” The demonstrators referred to the ongoing large-scale protests in France in response to a controversial law extending the retirement age from 62 to 64 that Macron pushed through last month without a vote by the National Assembly.
Macron had only just begun his speech on the future of Europe as part of his state visit to the Netherlands when he was interrupted by a man in the audience, saying, “Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. President.” He was applauded by two women elsewhere in the audience.
“Where has French democracy gone?” cried out one of them. Macron listened to them and tried to deliver a response, but the protesters shouted him down.
“I can answer this question if you give me the time,” he told the protesters.
After about 30 seconds, the three activists were removed from the Amare concert hall. One of the women resisted her removal, and left screaming loudly.
The police said that one man was arrested for “possible disorder and violating the [general local ordinance] due to the use of alcohol.” The man was removed from the building by Amare security guards, was arrested by the police outside, and was taken to the station. The police could not immediately say for certain whether it was one of the demonstrators who disrupted the lecture.
Before continuing his speech, Macron said he felt his lecture was not the place to protest. He called a “social debate” important, but also said it was important that democratically made decisions are respected. If that doesn’t happen, “you endanger democracy,” said the president.
All spectators and their bags were screened at security checkpoints in advance.