(Paris) From Toulon to Lille, the mobilization against the extension of the health passport from Monday and the compulsory vaccination for nurses continued in France on Saturday for the fourth time in a row.
Posted on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:49 am Updated at 5:49 pm
Romain FONSEGRIVES and the AFP offices in France Agence France-Presse
Around 237,000 people, including 17,000 in Paris, demonstrated in peace, a level that, according to the Interior Ministry, has never been reached since the protests began.
That is 33,000 more than last Saturday. And the number has more than doubled in three weeks, in the middle of summer, compared to the 114,000 demonstrators identified by the authorities on July 17 on the first weekend of action.
Few incidents were recorded, with only 35 arrests and seven minor injuries to the police out of a total of 198 actions. According to the public prosecutor’s office, eight people were taken into police custody in Paris around 8 p.m., including a minor.
Firefighters in uniform, supervisors in blouses, “yellow vests” or right-wing extremist voters … It is a very heterogeneous crowd that marches all afternoon.
The processions mixed anti-vaccines and provaccines against the extension of the pass. Some trudged the streets with their children, sometimes for the first time.
As was the case last week, the crowd was stronger in the southeast, where at least 47,000 people marched according to police. In Toulon there were 19,000, in Nice just under 10,000, in Montpellier 8,000, in Marseille at least 6,000, according to initial figures from the police and prefectures.
These gatherings took place the day after Emmanuel Macron issued a new urgent appeal to the French – “Get vaccinated,” repeated three times – while 66% of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Authorities argue that intensive care hospital admissions continue to rise (more than 1,500 patients on Saturday) and that COVID-19 has caused 112,222 deaths since the pandemic began in France. The situation is deteriorating particularly in the West Indies and in particular in Guadeloupe, which has been locked up since Wednesday.
In an interview with Le Parisien to be published on Sunday, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced that the application for health passports would be relaxed, in particular that “a negative test will be valid for 72 hours and no longer 48 hours for unvaccinated people”.
“Macron, your passport, we don’t want it”, “Macron, shut up, we don’t want it anymore”: anti-presidential slogans were heard in a parade in Paris – 4,500 demonstrators, according to the authorities – including many yellow vests, closely monitored by the mobile gendarmes.
“The problem with the health pass is that our hands are being forced,” Alexandre Fourez, 34, who has already had COVID-19, told AFP. The marketing employee has “really hard to believe that his application will be provisional”.
In Paris, according to the Interior Ministry, 11,000 demonstrators took part in another rally at the call of Florian Philippot, former number 2 of the FN (now RN) and President of the Patriots, who called for “the full release” of the government.
“Annoying and Discriminatory”
A large number of the demonstrators deny the imposition of the passport, a “veiled compulsory vaccination”, in their opinion. They find the restriction disproportionate and are particularly concerned that an employer may suspend an employee’s employment contract without a valid passport.
“I am not vaccinated and I do not plan to. If they try to force me, I will lose my job, ”assured AFP a protester from Marseille, Celine Polo. “I have health concerns that mean I cannot imagine that people outside of my health can make decisions for me,” said this executive secretary.
As of Monday, you will be required to show a vaccination card, negative PCR test for COVID-19, or a certificate of recovery in order to have access to cafes and restaurants, theaters or fairs, or to take a long flight, train or coach.
One of the protesters, Geneviève Zamponi, a retired vaccination educator, considers the passport to be “annoying and discriminatory”: “The“ prolos ”can take the metro or the RER without a passport, but they have no right to go for a coffee , it is illogical, ”said this Marseille protester.
According to the authorities in Réunion, around 3,500 people demonstrated since July 31, in partial detention and under strict curfew.
In Bordeaux, Gaëlle Faure, 23, a nurse at the CHU and unvaccinated, protested against the compulsory vaccination of nurses: “A few months ago in the hospital I was told that I could come to work if the result was positive, and today they explain themselves” for me that if I am not vaccinated, I am a danger to patients, I find that scandalous! “.
More than a hundred people, including many traders, demonstrated in Cambrai (north). Shops there have closed to protest passport control, which “could be complicated and tense,” said Morgan Sedrue, 36, a bar manager who fears seeing his clientele “split in two”.