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PROTESTS

Where and when health pass protests will take place in France this weekend

Some 250,000 protesters are expected to take part in an estimated 200 anti-health pass marches planned in towns and cities across France this weekend - so here are the areas to avoid if you don't want to get caught up in protests.

Where and when health pass protests will take place in France this weekend
Photo: Sebastien Salom-Gomis / AFP

At least four marches are scheduled to take place in Paris. The first will gather around the Porte Dorée in the 12th arrondissement from 11.30am to set off at 1pm towards the Place de Clichy. 

A second march will leave the Place de la Bourse around 1.30pm and head to the Palais Royal, while a protest is scheduled at 2pm at Gare de Noisy-le-Grand.

Finally, one organised by hard-right politician Florian Philippot, is scheduled to start at 2.30pm at Place de Catalogne in the Montparnasse and head to Port Royal.

But it is in the south of the country that the biggest mobilisation is expected. Some 15,000 people are expected to join a single protest in Toulon, while 10,000 are hoped-for by organisers in Montpellier. 

Nice, Marseille and Perpignan are all expecting large crowds, as protesters combine their opposition to the health pass with the return of mask mandates because of local rises in the number of Covid-19 cases.

With parents concerned over health plans for the big return to school in September, protests are set to continue until the end of France’s long summer holiday period.

READ ALSO Back-to-school Covid-19 health rules in France from September 2021

Saturday’s protests include marches in:

  • Aix-en-Provence – 10am Place de Général de Gaulle

  • Angoulême -2pm Place New York

  • Avignon – 2pm Place de l’Horloge

  • Bayonne – 2pm la mairie

  • Belfort – 4pm préfecture

  • Béziers – 10.30am Place du 14 juillet

  • Bordeaux – 1.30pm Place de la Bourse

  • Calais – 2pm Théâtre de Calais

  • Carcassonne – 2.30pm Square Gambetta

  • Dax – 10am Parc de la Mairie

  • Dijon – 2pm Place de la République

  • Foix – 10am Hall aux Grains

  • La Rochelle – 1pm Parvis de l’Aquarium

  • Lyon – 11am La Confluence/Esplanade François Mitterrand

  • Lyon – 2pm Gare des Brotteaux: Manifestation à destination de Jean Macé

  • Marseille – 2pm Vieux-Port

  • Montpellier – 2pm Place de la Comédie

  • Nice – 2pm Garibaldi

  • Nîmes – 4pm Jardins de La Fontaine

  • Perpignan – 2pm Place Catalogne

  • Rouen – 2pm Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

  • Strasbourg – 2pm Place Kléber

  • Toulouse – 2pm Métro Jean-Jaurès

  • Toulon – 1pm Place de la Liberté

  • Vienne – 4pm – Jardin des Cybeles

According to official figures, the number of protesters has more than doubled in four weeks, from 114,000 on Saturday, July 17th – the first day of protests – to 237,000 last Saturday, August 7th.

On August 12th, the Health Ministry reported that more than 3.4 million people had got their first dose of vaccine since the beginning of the month and more than half the 6 million injections that had gone into arms since August 1st.

That’s an average of more than 280,000 first injections every day. 

In total, nearly 46 million people in France have had at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 38.5 million are now fully vaccinated.

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PROTESTS

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.

The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.

Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.

“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes. 

“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.

“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.

“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”

About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.

The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.

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