(Paris) From Toulon to Lille, the French demonstrated on Saturday for the fourth time in a row against the extension of the health passport and the compulsory vaccination for caregivers, which were confirmed by the Constitutional Council on Thursday.
Posted on Aug 7, 2021 at 8:49 am
Romain FONSEGRIVES and the AFP offices in France Agence France-Presse
The Interior Ministry identified at least 204,000 protesters on July 31. “We expect the same number of demonstrators worldwide,” a police source predicted this Saturday, rallies are planned in more than 150 cities.
Almost 66% of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine. The meetings will take place the day after another urgent appeal from Emmanuel Macron to the French: “Get vaccinated”.
“Macron, your passport, we don’t want it”, “Macron, shut up, we don’t want it anymore”: In Paris, anti-presidential slogans were heard in a procession of at least a thousand demonstrators, including many yellow vests. Starting from Hauts-de-Seine, this parade is closely watched by mobile gendarmes.
Come masked, Alexandre Fourez, 34, assured to demonstrate “for the first time” who has already had COVID-19. “The problem with the medical passport is that we are forced to hand it in,” said this marketing employee, who “really can hardly believe” that his application will be provisional.
A good number of the demonstrators, some of them vaccinated, deny the issue of the passport, which in their opinion constitutes a “hidden compulsory vaccination”. They find the restriction disproportionate and are particularly concerned that an employer may be empowered to suspend an employee’s employment contract without a valid passport.
Other protesters say they refuse to be “the guinea pigs” of the new vaccines, such as Martine Rodriguez, 74, retired yoga teacher and yellow vest, previously “not against vaccines” but convinced that “COVID-19 was created to help people eliminate”. because we’re too much on earth and to allow pharmaceutical laboratories to make money.
“Not necessarily anti-vaccination,” says Stéphane, 50, with his wife and two teenage children. “It bothers me that we have to have this vaccination and it scares me for my children,” said this IT employee, who fears possible, as yet unknown side effects. The family going on vacation wants to “limit themselves to outdoor excursions”.
The law, which extends the health passport to new public spaces and stipulates mandatory vaccination for caregivers, was published in the official gazette on Friday.
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.
Authorities argue that intensive care hospital admissions continue to rise and daily deaths from COVID-19 in hospitals are on the rise again. The situation is deteriorating particularly in the West Indies and in particular in Guadeloupe, which has been locked up since Wednesday.
Circle in Lyon
In Paris, a rally began on the Place de l’Ecole Militaire at the request of Florian Philippot, former number 2 of the FN (now RN) and President of the Patriots.
Suzanne Petit, 65, retired, who says she does odd jobs to “make ends meet” and who has always promoted the FN, told AFP, “I watch the barriers, I wear the mask and I do am afraid of this disease, but even more of the vaccine ”.
Like last week, the rush is likely to be particularly strong in the south, especially in Toulon, Montpellier and Nice. In Marseille, at the request of SUD and fire fighters, an only partially declared demonstration is planned in the afternoon.
In the northern half, demonstrations are planned mainly in Lille, Reims and Dunkirk.
More than a hundred people, including many traders, demonstrated in the center of Cambrai (north), where shops were closed, to protest against the control of the health passport.
“We are not a hygienic anti-passport, but against its control, which will be lengthy, complicated and could create tension,” said Morgan Sedrue, 36, a bar manager who wore a “Balance your QR” T-shirt. “People who do not have their valid QR code will say to themselves: ‘It is pointless for me to come and eat or drink something”. The clientele will be cut in half, ”he believes.
Last week the demonstrations were sometimes interrupted by tense face-to-face meetings with the police and verbal abuse, even insulting the media. In Montpellier, protesters attacked a pharmacist who was investigating for COVID-19 and treated him by some as a “collaborator” and an “assassin”.