Extra police protection after dozens of attacks on French vaccine centres

The French government on Wednesday urged better protection of vaccine centres after some two dozen acts of vandalism were recorded against Covid-19 related facilities over the last month alone.

Extra police protection after dozens of attacks on French vaccine centres
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

The warning comes after high tensions over recent weeks as tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to rally against President Emmanuel Macron’s health pass policy which aims to encourage vaccination.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin sent a letter to senior local authority officials at the request of Macron seen by AFP in which he urged French police to mobilise to ensure better protection for vaccine centres across the country.

According to the interior ministry, some 22 acts of vandalism against testing and vaccination centres as well as pharmacies have been recorded since July 12th alone. Almost 60 threats have also been recorded.

In mid-July, a vaccination centre in Lans-en-Vercors in southeast France was flooded with a hosepipe, causing damage to equipment. Slogans such as “vaccinations are the new genocide” were found daubed on the walls.

Last weekend in the city of Toulouse a piece of paper was found at a vaccination centre warning that “one day this will all be blown up”.

In a letter to healthworkers, Health Minister Olivier Véran said: “I will not accept any violence, any intimidation, any attack on your physical integrity or professional equipment.”

The protests over the last four weekends have mixed those who believe the health pass scheme encroaches on basic freedoms, anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists.

The health pass, which is needed to enter a cafe or restaurant and also to travel on an inter-city train, is generated in a QR code either by a full course of vaccinations, a recent negative virus test or a recovery from Covid-19.

The government believes the plan will ramp up the demand for vaccinations.

Member comments

  1. These must be related to the people that freed prisoners from the Bastille, how many was it, seven? I see intelligence doesn’t improve over generations.

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Paris suburbs see third night of violence

The Parisian suburbs of Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France have seen clashes between residents and police, ever since an officer shot and killed the driver of a stolen van on Saturday.

Paris suburbs see third night of violence

Angry residents and police clashed for a third night in suburbs north of Paris, leading to 13 arrests following the fatal shooting of a father-of-four by an officer at the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Despite a heavy police presence to prevent further violence, several cars, a dozen bins and an abandoned sports centre were set alight overnight in the low-income Sevran, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Tremblay-en-France suburbs, a police source told AFP.

The unrest began Saturday after a police officer fatally shot the driver of a van that had been reported stolen and was being inspected at a traffic light in Sevran at around lunchtime.

The officer was hospitalised afterwards “in a state of shock,” local prosecutor Eric Mathais said Sunday, while internal police investigators have opened a probe into the incident.

Local people who knew the man named as Jean-Paul told AFP that he had taken a van owned by his employer who owed him wages.

They have also questioned how the officer could justify opening fire when his life was not in danger, which is the only justification for using a weapon under French law.

A protest march by the dead man’s family is expected in the next few days.

Residents in France’s multiracial suburbs often complain about heavy-handed policing methods and violence that have led to a series of scandals in recent years, including the February 2017 arrest of a black man who was allegedly sodomised with a police baton.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

The French government began a public consultation in February aimed at devising ways to increase public confidence in the police.