(Paris) In many cities in France, demonstrations began on Saturday for the third time in a row against the extension of the health passport and in the name of “freedom”.
Posted on Jul 31, 2021 at 9:52 am
Léo PIERRARD Agence France-Presse
The authorities plan to mobilize 150,000 people. Last Saturday the demonstrations had gathered 161,000 people and a week earlier 110,000.
In Paris, the first demonstration from the Villiers metro started at 2 p.m. in the direction of Place de la Bastille. Shortly before 3 p.m. there was tension with the police during the procession near the Moulin-Rouge.
Before the procession started, the yellow vest Jérôme Rodrigues “demonized” members of the government, media representatives who are there to sell you the effectiveness of a vaccine without even having a proof.
Amélie, 28, came from Seine-Saint-Denis. She took part in all the demonstrations, two weeks ago in Paris and last weekend in Le Havre. “We scare people into passing laws that are more and more hostile to freedom, supposedly supposed to better return to normalcy, and yet the health emergency keeps going on,” she complains.
“A false passport”
Valérie (first name changed), 45, an educator specializing in an addiction center who is forced to be vaccinated in order to continue her job, says “the risk of the vaccine is greater than that of contracting COVID-19 “because she is” young, in good health and does not suffer from comorbidities “. She plans to “get sick or use a forged passport”.
Another demonstration began after 2.30 p.m. near the Montparnasse train station, at the request of former number 2 of the FN and President of the Patriots Florian Philippot. With lots of “blue-white-red” flags or a torn European flag, the demonstrators, mostly without masks, headed for the Ministry of Health (7th).
For his part, the president of the Frexit-friendly party UPR (Popular Republican Union) François Asselineau announced on Friday that he was positive for COVID-19 and therefore prevented demonstrating against the health passport, which he considers “absurd, unfair and completely hostile to freedom”. .
More than 3,000 police officers and gendarmes are being mobilized to monitor the protesters and secure sensitive locations a week after the protesters were pushed back from the Champs-Élysées, access to which was blocked that Saturday.
Events are also planned in more than 150 cities in France, with potentially large crowds in Toulon, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Metz, Nantes and Pau.
In Montpellier, several hundred people, including many yellow vests, began shouting and shouting “freedom” on the Place de la Comédie in the early afternoon, noted an AFP journalist. “Macron / Big Pharma, same fight = assassin,” read a sign.
In Strasbourg, according to the police, 3,200 people marched in the city center without overflow and in the presence of ex-LREM MP Martine Wonner.
Grouped around the hashtags # manif31juillet and #passdelahonte in social networks, the opposition to the government’s measures unites anti-passport health, anti-vaccine or anti-incarceration protesters with Protean demands.
In the processions, where there are also many yellow vests, the demonstrators swing signs “Macron vacates”, “Healthy terror”, “No to the past”, “No to the health dictatorship”.
The health pass was finally adopted on Sunday evening after six days of heated debate in parliament.
Already used in cultural and leisure facilities since July 21st, the expansion to cafes, trade fairs, exhibitions, restaurants and railways is planned for August 9th. In the meantime, the Constitutional Council will take its decision on the law on August 5th.
New containments will be put in place this weekend in Martinique and Réunion, two areas where vaccination coverage is low and incidence rates are rising sharply.
Two processions with thousands of demonstrators gathered in La Réunion on Saturday, including one marked by an exchange of stones and tear gas in Saint-Denis.
The first three patients to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Martinique, where hospital care is saturated, will have to be transferred to Paris on a medical flight on Saturday.
In mainland France, the epidemic is increasing, particularly in tourism departments, and health measures have been put in place at departmental level.
According to a study published on Friday, people not vaccinated against COVID-19 account for around 85% of patients hospitalized in France, including those in intensive care, and 78% of deaths from the virus.
France passed the 50% threshold of its fully vaccinated population on Tuesday evening, a level that is still far from the collective immunity threshold, which is estimated at around 90% with the new Delta variant.
According to a study by Harris Interactive conducted for LCI in late July and published on Friday, 4 out of 10 French people say they support the protests against the health passport.
Among the French who support the rallies, 65% justify their support with the “impression that they are being told what to do, that they have no choice”.
According to another Ipsos-Sopra Steria poll for Franceinfo and Le Parisien on July 16, 62% of French people said they are in favor of the health pass for entering public places and 69% of the compulsory vaccination for caregivers.