(Paris) Opponents of the health passport marched into many cities in France for the fifth Saturday in a row, a mobilization that a few days after generalization was reflected in most public places of a widely legal device.
Posted on Aug 14, 2021 at 8:21 am Updated at 3:07 pm
By Ornella LAMBERTI and Romain ALLIMANT Agence France-Presse
According to the Interior Ministry, a total of 214,845 people, including 13,900 in Paris, demonstrated at 217 rallies on Saturday, during which eleven police officers were arrested and injured.
Last weekend, 237,000 people were counted by the ministry.
In Paris, the two main parades proclaimed slogans such as “Free France” or “Take back your Macron pass and get out”.
“Vaccines do a lot of damage,” said Philippe Bailleul, 71-year-old pensioner, at the demonstration organized by former national rally international (far right) Florian Philippot and his new movement, the Patriots, in the capital.
In the competing Paris parade, organized by “yellow vests,” retired Marie Huguet railed against “the idea of no longer being able to go where (she) wants”, while Yann Fontaine, a 30-year-old lawyer consultant, looked at the health passport “an anti-liberty, segregationist measure”.
Up to these declining numbers on Saturday, this heterogeneous anti-government mobilization had grown from its inception in mid-July.
So far, without major incidents, it attracts families as well as non-political first-time demonstrators as supervisors or firefighters in uniform and goes beyond the only anti-vaccine or conspiracy movement.
Since last Monday, the health passport has been issued in most public places in France. Bars, restaurants, cinemas, long-distance traffic, museums or hospitals need this QR code, which is evidence of a full vaccination against COVID-19, a negative test or a recovery.
The authorities said it will also be mandatory from Monday in the five Parisian department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, BHV, Le Bon Marché and la Samaritaine) as well as in dozens of shops and shopping centers in the Paris region.
Protesters accuse the government of underestimating the protest against the health passport. The militant collective Le Nombre Jaune, which publishes a city-by-city census on Facebook, claimed to have “at least” counted more than 415,000 participants in France last Saturday.
His estimate for mobilization that Saturday was not immediately available.
Malice and anti-Semitism
Outside Paris, the most important processions marched in the south, where Toulon (22,000 people), Montpellier (7,500 people), Nice (6,000), Marseille (6,000) emerged as major points of contention. There were also 4,200 in Bordeaux (southwest), 3,000 in Lyon (east) and 2,600 in Lille (north).
A fringe of this very diverse movement with no real head is adopting its anti-Semitism, while certain vaccination centers or pharmacies are treated as “collaborators” and victims of malicious acts.
A teacher will be brought to justice in September for waving a sign against Jewish personalities in Metz (East) last Saturday.
The demonstrators denounce an obstacle to their “freedom”, even a “health dictatorship”.
These allegations anger the government in the face of a deadly epidemic explosion in the French islands of the Antilles, Guadeloupe and Martinique.
On Thursday, Health Minister Olivier Véran castigated a movement from the redesigned Martinique, “about which we talk too much” and which “has extremely colorful signs and sometimes extremely dubious, even completely dirty reasons.”
The executive is still hoping to convince the undecided to hit the target of 50 million French who will receive a first injection at the end of August.
Vaccination in the West Indies is three times lower than in metropolitan France, and the epidemic outbreak caused by the Delta variant is “exemplary evidence” of the urgency of vaccination, according to Prime Minister Jean Castex.
Since the vaccination campaign began in France, 46,267,777 people have received at least one injection (68.6% of the total population) and 39,028,100 people now have a full vaccination schedule (57.9% of the total population). Total population).