French vaccination centres vandalised as thousands protest health restrictions

French vaccination centres vandalised as thousands protest health restrictions
Around 18,000 people marched in Paris on Saturday. Photo: Bertrand GUAY / AFP.
Two vaccination centres were ransacked in France over the weekend, while over 100,000 people took to the streets to protest against the health pass which will make vaccination or Covid tests required for many daily activities.

Vandals broke into the vaccination centre in the village of Lans-en-Vercors, near Grenoble in eastern France, on Friday night. They flooded the site using fire hoses and ransacked syringes and other equipment, according to local paper Le Dauphiné libéré.

Anti-vaccine graffiti was found painted on the building, according to AFP, including “1940”, “Vaccine = genocide”, and the Cross of Lorraine, a symbol used by the French Resistance during the Second World War. The vaccination centre has since been moved to another site in the village.

On Sunday morning, a fire damaged the temporary vaccination centre in Urrugne in south-west France, near the Spanish border. The fire is being treated as arson, prosecutor Jerome Bourrier in the local town of Bayonne wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The mayor of the town, Philippe Aramendi, said there was “no doubt” about the intentional nature of the blaze, saying an inflammable liquid had been poured around the outside of the tent housing the centre. “Fortunately the fire brigade was able to quickly put out the flames and the tent has only been partially destroyed,” he said.

Around 114,000 people protested across France on Saturday against stricter vaccination rules which are set to come into force under new legislation that will be adopted at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

The draft law will then be put to a vote later this week in parliament, where President Emmanuel Macron holds a comfortable working majority.

READ ALSO French café owners call for delay in implementing health passports

Under measures announced by Macron last week, people will need to show either proof of full vaccination or a recent test to enter public venues such as restaurants, bars, shopping centres, long-distance trains and cinemas, from the beginning of August.

Healthcare workers will also have until September 15th to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

In the three days following the announcement, nearly three million French people signed up for jabs, according to the government.

But in Saturday’s protests, critics – including fringe far-right politicians – denounced the government’s “tyranny” and called a Macron a “dictator” for the measures, which they view as unfair and discriminatory.

At a demonstration in the southern city of Perpignan several protesters wore yellow stars on their T-shirts, in an attempt to compare their plight to the persecution of Jews during World War II.

“This comparison is abhorrent,” Joseph Szwarc, one of the last remaining survivors of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in France on July 16th and 17th, 1942, said on Sunday during a ceremony to remember the victims. “You can’t imagine how much I was affected, the tears came. I wore the star, I know what it means, I still have it on my flesh.”

In Paris, a former member of Macron’s parliamentary party, Martine Wonner, urged protesters to “go lay siege to lawmakers, go invade their headquarters, to tell them you do not agree”.

“We will never accept this dictatorship… We must refuse this segregation,” she said in a speech captured by video and shown widely on TV.

READ ALSO Calendar: The key dates to know as France tightens Covid restrictions

Three colleagues in Wonner’s Liberties and Territories group in parliament issued a statement slamming “unacceptable” comments and said Wonner “could no longer be a member.”

The head of Macron’s parliamentary group, Christophe Castaner, wrote to the National Assembly speaker asking him to seek a prosecutor’s inquiry into “inciting hate and rebellion, including with violent acts”, according to a letter seen by AFP.

The government says it has no choice but to pressure people to get vaccinated as the country faces a fourth wave of cases linked to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

The country reported 11,000 daily cases on Saturday, double the number of a week ago. Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that nine out of 10 newly infected people are unvaccinated.


Member comments

  1. The fact that “they” do comparison with ww2 is just… I am out of words… But “a**holes” could be one…

  2. If anyone is ten years old, it’s the one who uses condescending epithets against those who hold a different view. It’s shows intolerance and close-mindedness. But maybe that’s your bag. Better saved for the schoolyard, yes?

    And When did I every say I supported violence? Nowhere in my comments can you find this referenced – so engage the brain before you open your mouth.

    And I’m not an anti-vaxxer. Another assumption that illustrates how uninformed you are. And I wouldn’t be endangering you if I were unvaccinated (which I actually am – another ignorance-based assumption on your part) because you’re protected aren’t you?

    Think more. It helps.

  3. If the rest of you are vaccinated, you won’t be infected. So you won’t have to worry about your ignorant, brainwashed arse. Go it back in front of the television and bleat like the sheep you are. Thinking critically is obviously not your strong point. LOL

  4. Don’t complicate it for him as they will have no idea who the JPF were. The film was actually banned in Torbay

  5. Are you ten years old? Vandals are morons. Or are you fan?

    So what would you call someone who trashes a vaccination centre? Clever? Decent? A valuable member of the community.

    I accept your right, and other anti-vaxxers, to not be vaccinated. So accept the right of others to not be endangered by your choices, however violent and disrespectful.

    Fascist? Are you ten?

  6. And the rest of us have a right not to get infected by your ignorant arse – hence the pass sanitaire.

  7. Has it ever dawned on you that people have the right to choose and be respected for it? And if you have to ask a ridiculous question about the reason 3 million registered after government coercion , then maybe you need to buy some more ‘join the dots’ books and revisit the term ‘braindead’. I chose to be vaccinated for my own reasons. But coerced vaccination is a violation of a person’s ownership of their body. End of.

  8. Losers and Morons?
    Classic fascist ploy. Degrade people who disagree with you by calling them names. My body. My choice. Respect that, or risk being an intolerant bigot.

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