Anti-Vax Protesters Vow to 'Piss Off' Macron After French Lawmakers Approve COVID-19 'Vaccine Pass'

© AFP 2022 / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULTAn image shot in Paris off a television screen shows French President Emmanuel Macron speaking on the situation in Afghanistan, from the Fort de Bregancon presidential summer residence at Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France on August 16, 2021
An image shot in Paris off a television screen shows French President Emmanuel Macron speaking on the situation in Afghanistan, from the Fort de Bregancon presidential summer residence at Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France on August 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.01.2022
Subscribe
International
India
Africa
Under a controversial bill approved by France’s National Assembly in the first reading on 6 January, a "vaccine pass" will be needed to attend public places or travel between regions on public transport. The government of President Emmanuel Macron seeks to start implementing the new measures as of 15 January.
Around 105,200 people across France protested Saturday over government plans to introduce a new coronavirus pass.
Some in Paris were heard responding to President Emmanuel Macron’s blunt promise made last week to “piss off” the unvaccinated, with protesters chanting "We'll piss you off".
18,000 are estimated to have turned out in the capital Paris, with police reporting 10 arrests and three officers having sustained minor injuries.
Some 6,000 demonstrators flooded the streets of Toulon, between 500 and 1,000 people turned out in Bordeaux, 500 in Dijon, 650 in Saint-Etienne, and nearly 500 in Puy-en-Velay.
The turnout on Saturday is believed to have been four times higher than when 25,500 people marched across the country in response to the 18 December call to protest.
People carried slogans that read "No to the vaccine pass", in a reference to the controversial bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France's parliament on Thursday.
In Paris, several thousand people had rallied after a call by the president of the Patriots Eurosceptic political party, presidential candidate Florian Philippot. Another crowd in the south-east of Paris was reportedly held on the initiative of the Yellow Vests.
While the large-scale movement evolved from a series of rallies against a hike in fuel prices, with focus gradually shifting towards a wider range of social problems, of late the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) have been protesting against the government’s COVID-19 policies.
The French far-right mayor of Beziers Robert Menard speaks during a  joint press conference alongside the far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) party presidential candidate (unseen) during her visit to Beziers in southern France on January 7, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.01.2022
Marine Le Pen Blasts Macron as 'Pyromaniac' Who 'Uses' Health Crisis After His Comments on Unvaxxed
People in France already have to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to a host of public venues. However, under a bill approved by the National Assembly on 6 January in the first reading, the health pass has been transformed into a stricter "vaccine pass".
The proposed legislation would ditch the negative PCR test option in order to attend public places such as bars, restaurants, museums, theatres, and gyms. Similarly, full vaccination would be needed for people over 12 years of age to travel between regions on public transport. The sole exception is access to health facilities and services, for which a negative COVID-19 test will still suffice.
Emmanuel Macron’s government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by 15 January. However, the legislation still needs to pass in the Senate, which is due to review it early next week.
The bill’s passage came in the wake of controversial remarks by Macron, who told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview earlier that "as for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off" with new measures.
"We have to tell (the unvaccinated)... you will no longer be able to go to a restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema," the president said.
He had also referred to those who refused to get their jabs as "irresponsible people” who are “no longer citizens".
Later, he doubled down on his remarks, telling reporters at a joint press conference in Paris with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen:
"People can get upset about a way of speaking that seems colloquial, but I fully stand by it. I'm upset about the situation we're in, that's where the real divisions are in the country."
Despite the fact that France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated, the new Omicron variant of the disease has been driving cases up.
France recorded 303,669 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, with pressure on hospitals mounting.
Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала