Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Police chase protestors trying to hijack Macron’s royal visit away from the Palace

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Pictures taken today show a number of police officers attempting to disperse protestors who object to Mr Macron’s UK visit. The campaigners appeared to be protesting perceived French interference in Cameroon domestic affairs.

Officers were quick to move on the group and prevent them from hijacking the official state visit.

Pictures show a number of officers running down The Mall, in the City of Westminster, chasing the protestors.

The group were understood to be running towards the entrance of Clarence House, where the French President was meeting Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at their London residence.

One protestor was pictured holding a microphone as he ran through the streets.

Another man was seen holding a banner which read: “Cameroon is a sovereign state.

“No to the French Interference. No to neo-colonialism.

“No to France-Africa. No to unconstitutional regime change!”

The Republic of Cameroon is an independent state in Western Africa and in recent years there has been increasing unrest over the French government’s perceived interference in internal matters, as armed separatists attempt to form a breakaway state within the region.

But today’s visit by Mr Macron was to mark the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle’s famous wartime broadcast.

The former French President gave a rallying cry on the BBC in 1940, urging the people of France to resist the Nazi occupation.

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Boris Johnson’s spokesman said: “President Macron is visiting London to mark an important event in the shared history of our two countries and to commemorate the sacrifices made during the Second World War.

“But it is also an opportunity for the PM and the president to discuss a range of other issues and I expect them to talk about the global fight against coronavirus and also for our future relationship with the European Union to come up.”

A statue of Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader during the conflict, was uncovered in Westminster ahead of the French President’s visit.

The monument had been covered up due to protests in London in recent weeks.

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Earlier this afternoon Mr Macron arrived at Clarence House where he was welcomed by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

The French leader was met outside the royal residence by a ceremonial guard of honour from Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards joined by the Band of the Coldstream Guards – who all stood at least two metres apart.

Prince Charles then joined Mr Macron in laying wreaths at a statue of Charles de Gaulle, which stands outside the former base of the Free French.

The French President then gave a short speech, where he bestowed the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour, on London to commemorate the city’s help during the Second World War.

Prince Charles accepted the honour on behalf of London.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and London Mayor Sadiq Khan were also in attendance for the historic moment.

After the ceremony Mr Macron then made his way to Downing Street, where he was met by the Prime Minister.

The pair are due to look over artefacts documentation General de Gaulle’s time in London and his partnership with Sir Winston Churchill.

The leaders will then hold bilateral talks about the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Macron is the first foreign head of state to visit the UK since lockdown began in March.

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