(Paris) Demonstrations, sometimes face to face with the police, gathered in France on Saturday more than 200,000 opponents of the renewal of the health passport, a mobilization on the rise, in the middle of summer, on the third weekend of protest.
Posted on Jul 31, 2021 at 9:52 am Updated at 4:11 pm
Maryam EL HAMOUCHI Agence France-Presse
In Paris, Marseille or Lyon and in dozens of cities, colorful parades marched in an often virulent atmosphere.
To the calls for “freedom, freedom” sung in most of the parades, slogans that are largely anti-presidential and anti-media have been added.
At 6 p.m., Interior Ministry services identified 204,090 demonstrators, including around 14,250 in Paris, for a total of 184 actions.
Last Saturday the demonstrations had gathered 161,000 people and a week earlier 110,000.
Grouped around the hashtags # manif31 July and #PassDeLaHonte in social networks, the opposition to the government’s measures unites anti-health passport, anti-vaccine or anti-containment demonstrators with Protean demands.
According to a poll published on Friday, four in ten French say they support the protests against the health passport.
During the main parade in Paris, thousands of demonstrators reached the Villiers metro station at 2 pm (5 pm to the police. The latter responded to the projectiles with tear gas and the use of water cannons.
According to an initial report by the Ministry of the Interior, there were “19 arrests, 10 of them in Paris”; “3 members of the security forces were injured in Paris”.
Spitting on journalists
For Valérie (first name changed), a 45-year-old educator at an addiction center who met at the gathering, “the risk of the vaccine” is “greater” than COVID-19 because she is “young, in good health and not” no comorbidities in pain ”.
A second demonstration in Paris, at the request of the former number 2 of the FN and the President of the Patriots Florian Philippot, meanwhile gathered the Ministry of Health of Montparnasse. The demonstrators, most of them without masks, marched amid a flood of “blue-white-red” flags.
At the beginning of the procession, two AFP (JRI) journalists were verbally abused and verbally abused, resulting in the interruption of video coverage of the rally ten days after similar threats against BFMTV journalists.
More than 3,000 police officers and gendarmes were mobilized to frame the parades a week after the protesters marched into the Champs-Élysées, whose entrances were blocked on Saturday.
In Rennes, the demonstration drew 2,900 people, an increase in mobilization compared to the previous Saturday (2,200).
“I am Macron’s Jew”, “Vaccine me against fascism and capitalism” or “Media liar!” We want the truth, ”we read on the signs in a festive and loud atmosphere.
According to an AFP photographer, “a little less than 4000 people” gathered in Nantes in a “very tense” atmosphere, according to the prefecture.
In the cities of the southeast, authorities have counted at least 38,000 people, mainly in Toulon (13,000) and Montpellier (10,000).
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal and Health Minister Olivier Véran were outraged by a video tweeted by Midi Libre showing a pharmacist forced to fold his test tent in the face of insults from protesters in Montpellier.
A very heterogeneous crowd gathered in Marseille, waving the communist flag, that of rebellious France (LFI) or the tricolor with the Lorraine cross, in a parade, which was also enameled with clashes.
“President, MPs, senators, scientists, journalists, all cowards,” one sign read, and another, “I’m not a guinea pig or a QR code”.
In Lille, more than 2,000 people with different profiles, including many “yellow vests”, marched through the center. 4 people were arrested, according to the prefecture.
According to the police, 3,200 people marched in Strasbourg in the presence of former LREM MP Martine Wonner.
More than 1200 protesters were in Lyon, where eight people were arrested. 5,500 people became active in Bordeaux.
The health pass was finally adopted in parliament on Sunday.
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.
This weekend, new containment measures will be introduced in Martinique and Reunion Island, where vaccination coverage is low and incidence rate is rising sharply. Two processions with thousands of demonstrators gathered on La Réunion on Saturday.
In France, the epidemic is increasing, especially in the tourism departments.
The number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital and intensive care increased on Saturday, according to Public Health France. The intensive care services admitting the most severely ill counted 1,099 patients compared to 1,072 the previous day and 878 seven days ago.