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Protesters shout down Macron on visit to the Netherlands

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President Emmanuel Macron was accompanied to the Netherlands by anger against an unpopular pension reform. Protesters disrupted a speech he was about to give on Tuesday (11 April), at the beginning of a two-day-long state visit.

"I believe we have lost something. Where is French democracy?" One man shouted out at the Nexus Institute's start. Others protestors in the crowd targeted climate change and pension law, while another displayed a banner reading: "President Of Violence and Hypocrisy".

Macron was scheduled to deliver a speech about European sovereignty. However, he has been subject to weeks of tension protests back home against the pension law. This will delay the retirement age for French workers.

Macron fought for several minutes against those shouting to try and make his voice heard.

The president replied: "I can answer that question, if I have some time."

He said: "You vote and elect people... The counterpart is that you must respect the institutions voted for by the people."

Macron began to deliver his speech. Reporters inside the room claimed that the protesters were expelled.

During his speech, the pension law was defended by him, which will delay retirement age for two years to 64.

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He said in English: "I will pass (retirement) age from 62 to 64. When they compare it, they [French protesters], should be less angry because in your country, it's higher than 64, and in many other countries in Europe it's higher than 64."

Macron was confronted earlier in the day by protesters holding a banner opposing the pension reform.

French unions plan a nationwide protest against the pension law on Thursday. According to opinion polls, the majority of voters support the reform.

It was passed by the government without any final vote.

Friday's (14 April) Constitutional Council will decide if the law respects the constitution. The opposition can then try to gather enough signatures to organize a referendum against it.

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