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POLITICS

Macron tells the French: Happy Christmas and do a Covid test

French president Emmanuel Macron's festive greeting to the nation wishes everyone a happy Christmas - with a preventative Covid test.

Macron tells the French: Happy Christmas and do a Covid test
French president Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

The French government has already ruled out imposing extra restrictions over Christmas – although New Year is still up for discussion.

But as Covid infection rates – particularly of the highly contagious Omicron strain – continue to rise, the president has also called on the French to be careful over the festive period.

His festive message begins by wishing everyone happy holidays, and then goes on: “To those who will have the joy of being with their family for Christmas: barrier gestures, a preventive test to reassure and in case of symptoms – isolate and alert.”

He added his thanks to the healthcare workers and others who will be working over the holidays.

There are no restrictions on gatherings or travel within France this Christmas, but official government advice is to keep gatherings small and employ preventative measures including washing hands and ventilating rooms.

Those planning to travel or meet up with family and friends are also advised to take a test in advance, even if they have no symptoms.

EXPLAINED: The health rules and official advice in France this Christmas

Macron himself is likely to have a better time this year, as last Christmas he was ill with Covid.

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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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