A.In view of the nationwide protests in France against the tightening of the corona rules, the government has relaxed some of the planned measures. As Health Minister Olivier Véran announced in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien published on Saturday evening, negative tests should now be valid for 72 hours – instead of the previously planned 48 hours. In addition to antigen and rapid tests, self-tests under medical supervision should also be recognized.
The French parliament passed the tightening of the corona rules at the end of July. The regulations for the so-called health pass are being expanded: From Monday, a vaccination, recovery or a negative test must be proven when entering restaurants and cafes, health facilities, some shopping centers, trade fairs and fairs, as well as for long-distance travel in public transport. The law also provides for a corona vaccination for health and care workers as well as for firefighters and other rescue workers.
Record number of protesters
Tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating against the law across France for weeks. According to the Interior Ministry, a record number of around 237,000 people took part in the protests on Saturday. Critics speak of a “compulsory vaccination through the back door”. “I am not necessarily against vaccinations,” said the 50-year-old computer scientist Stéphane, who took part in the protests in Paris with his wife and two young children. “It bothers me that this vaccination is forced on me and it scares me because of my children.” The 65-year-old pensioner Suzanne Petit, on the other hand, is simply “even more afraid” of the vaccination than of Covid-19.
During some marches in Paris, people chanted hostile slogans against Head of State Emmanuel Macron, such as “Macron, shut up, we don’t want him anymore”. The former chief strategist of the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, Florian Philippot, had called for one of the rallies.
As in previous weeks, the demonstrations were particularly popular in the south of the country. According to official figures, 19,000 people protested in Toulon, 10,000 in Nice and 6,000 in Marseille. In Montpellier, protesters attacked a pharmacist who was doing corona tests. Some of them insulted him as a “collaborator” and “murderer”
The number of participants in the protests increases from weekend to weekend. According to the Interior Ministry, 204,000 people took to the streets in over 150 cities on July 31, compared with 161,000 and 110,000 participants before that.