Macron is on the first state visit to the Netherlands by a French president in 23 years, but this has not given him respite from the wave of protests against his moves to increase the French pension age from 62 to 64.
“For the honour of the workers and a better world — even if Macron doesn’t like it, we are here,” one protester chanted, using the words of a French protest song, as he was pinned down by several security officials in Amsterdam.
The man ran towards Macron and was tackled to the ground, knocking over a man in uniform and landing in a heap of people, pool television and social media images showed.
The incident happened just after the French president had got out of a limousine with Dutch King Willem-Alexander and was being greeted by Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema.
“We arrested two protesters for running towards the president. For disturbing public order and threatening,” Amsterdam police spokesperson Lex van Liebergen told AFP.
“It was a man and a woman, protesters. One of them had a banner.”
Around 40 people were still protesting when Macron left the university’s science faculty, where he held a roundtable with the Dutch king and local business leaders.
He later signed a “pact for innovation” with the Netherlands focusing on cooperation in semiconductors, quantum physics and energy.
Trump slates Macron
But the protests in the Netherlands underscored the huge challenge the second-term French president faces after pushing through his flagship pension overhauls, with mass strikes and sometimes violent demonstrations.
In The Hague on Tuesday, protesters shouted, “where is French democracy?” and unfurled a banner saying “President of Violence and Hypocrisy” as Macron gave a speech on European sovereignty.
Macron’s Dutch visit wraps up late Wednesday after a trip to the sold-out exhibition of painter Johannes Vermeer’s works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on a canal boat.
Earlier, Macron’s wife Brigitte and Dutch Queen Maxima toured the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, where the tragic teenage Jewish diarist hid from the Nazis during World War II.
The French president and Dutch premier will give a press conference at 1545 GMT, where Macron is expected to face questions on controversial comments that he made about Taiwan.
Macron said in an interview with media, including Politico and French business daily Les Echos, that Europe should not be “followers” of the United States or China when it came to Taiwan.
The remarks drew praise as “brilliant” in China — which bristles at US support of what it sees as a breakaway province — but raised eyebrows among Western allies.
And former president Donald Trump said that the US had lost so much influence in the world since he left office that “Macron, who’s a friend of mine, is over with China, kissing his ass”.
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