First modification: 07/18/2021 – 02:08
According to the Interior Ministry, thousands of protesters were summoned in 137 protests in various cities to demand “freedom”, alluding to the extension of the ‘health pass’ and the forced vaccination of health workers. These were some of the plans announced this week by President Emmanuel Macron, which have felt bad in a country in which until now the non-obligation was a promise of ‘freedom’.
“Liberté”, “Macron dictateur”. From north to south, the banners pointed out this July 17 to the president of the Elysee and to national values. And it is that from Marseille to Lille, and from Montpellier to Paris, about 114,000 people came out to demonstrate throughout the country against the “anti Covid-19” measures announced five days ago by the president.
Among these is the mandatory vaccination of health personnel, in addition to the extension of the ‘health pass’, a kind of certificate “free of Covid-19” required for the reopening of establishments. Without it you cannot, for example, enter places such as restaurants, shopping centers or cinemas.
Some measures that part of the population has interpreted as positive to combat an increase in infections – this Saturday the country remained above 10,000 cases – but another part has felt as a veto to the freedom of choice of those who do not want get vaccinated.
The French Interior Ministry reported that in total 137 demonstrations were called, with Paris gathering up to 18,000 people in Beauvau Square.
“We have doubts about vaccines against the coronavirus, it is not that we think that the Earth is flat, but we do not know the long-term effects of these vaccines manufactured quickly and that (Emmanuel) Macron wants to impose on us,” sums up Rita, a nursing assistant 39, who participated in the southern caravan, in Montpellier, where, according to the Prefecture, 5,500 people occupied the streets.
On the Old Port of Marseille the figure reached 4,250 protesters, some of them pointing to the “sheep” that are vaccinated and the “bad information” given by the television channels, while in Nice there were 1,600, in Bordeaux 1,200, in Toulouse 2,500 (with slogans such as “I am not a QR code”), in Strasbourg 2,800 and in Nancy 1,200.
In Dijon alone, the police used tear gas, although in the city of Lyon there were nine detainees in the framework of an unauthorized march, which brought together about 1,000 attendees.
“We are not anti-vaccines at all”
In the Parisian capital, all these claims were heard in three different processions. In the first, adorned with the flags of France, you could see the former number 2 of the extreme right National Front Florian Philippot, as well as the Covid-skeptical deputy Martine Wonner, the singer Francis Lalanne and even the former leader of the ‘gilets jaunes ‘(‘ the yellow vests’) Jacline Mouraud.
Before the demonstration, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, president of the political group “Debout la France”, denounced at a press conference “an unprecedented abuse of power” and a “health coup”, alluding to the fact that the announcement of the Elysee it would have affected daily life – without the ‘pass’ you cannot attend events or visit a minor in the hospital if you are not vaccinated.
At the same time, another 1,500 people raised their voices in the south of Paris, in a more chaotic group and surrounded by a police cordon, but with the same slogans as in the third procession in the Republic Square: “Democracy is sought of the French Republic, disappeared on July 12, 2021 “or” No to the ‘health pass’, stop the dictatorship. “
“We are not at all anti-vaccines. We only want each person to have the freedom to decide whether to get vaccinated or not. The PCR tests can endure and must be kept free,” defended Aurélie and Tiphaine, both in their thirties and employed of a shopping center.
“We are here for the demands of the yellow vests and the restrictions of libertas. This is not a libertarian law that makes us go out into the street. We have always been in the street,” said the “vest” Jérôme Rodrigues.
This article was adapted from its original in French.