The visit of France’s Head of State to the Netherlands was interrupted when a pension reform protester attacked President Macron and triggered a security alert on Wednesday. This was the second day in a row that Mr. Macron’s state visit to the Netherlands had been disrupted by protests, after weeks of demonstrations at home against an unpopular pension law.
A video of the incident shows the members of the Dutch law enforcement and military – most likely army officers and a policeman in plain clothes, tackling the protester as he ran towards President Macron. The French President was then immediately encircled, blocking any other assailants from getting to Macron.
Arrests Made After Protester Attacked President Macron
During the state visit, Mr. Macron had stepped out of a limousine with Dutch King Willem-Alexander and was being greeted by Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema when the demonstrators ran towards him. Pictures showed one man being pinned to the ground by guards outside the University of Amsterdam’s science campus.
According to an Amsterdam police representative, “We arrested two protesters for running towards the president, for disturbing public order and threatening. It was a man and a woman, protesters. One of them had a banner.” It was not clear if the separate small group of demonstrators was linked to the arrested protesters.
Protests Against Pension Law
The man who attacked President Macron chanted a popular protest song against the pension reform, saying “We are here, we are here, even if Macron doesn’t want it we are here.” The anger against the pension bill is due to the government pushing it through parliament without a vote. The bill will delay retirement by two years to 64.
Back in France, unions are planning another nationwide day of protests on Thursday against the pension law. Opinion polls show a majority of voters oppose the reform and back the protests.
Macron’s Ex-Bodyguard Sentenced for Assaulting Protesters
President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard received a three-year sentence in 2021 for assaulting two demonstrators during an anti-capitalist protest in 2018. An incident that caused scandal and deep embarrassment for the French president.
During the incident, the former bouncer, was wearing a police helmet, even though he had only been given leave to attend the protest as an observer. He started working for Macron in 2016. He was soon promoted to a senior security role after Macron’s 2017 victory, becoming a trusted confidant and right-hand man seen at Macron’s side in countless photos.
After the scandal broke, the presidents former bodyguard admitted carrying a handgun during outings with Macron – even though he was only authorized to carry it within the party headquarters, where he was nicknamed “Rambo”.
Protests against President Macron’s pension reform are continuing both at home and abroad, with this latest incident occurring during his state visit to the Netherlands. The future of the pension law remains uncertain as the Constitutional Council prepares to make its ruling on Friday.
In this incident, the importance of situational awareness was highlighted as the swift action taken by the Dutch law enforcement and military prevented any harm from coming to President Macron. This incident serves as a reminder that public figures must be mindful of their surroundings and have proper security measures in place to ensure their safety.