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COVID-19 VACCINES

More than 100,000 protest Macron’s plan to ‘piss off the unvaccinated’

More than 100,000 people across France protested on Saturday over what they say are government plans to further restrict the rights of the unvaccinated.

More than 100,000 protest Macron's plan to 'piss off the unvaccinated'
Demonstrators hold a banner reading " The youth piss off the vaccine front " during a protest against the health pass on Saturday. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

The protest came only days after French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to “piss off” those refusing the jab.

The turnout was four times higher than the numbers who answered the December 18 call to protest, when 25,500 people marched across the country, according to government estimates.

The protests oppose a planned law that will require individuals to prove they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can eat out, travel on inter-city trains or attend cultural events.

On Thursday, France’s lower house of parliament passed the controversial bill in a first reading. The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, although lawmakers in the Senate could now delay the process.

About 18,000 protesters gathered in Paris. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP

Interior ministry officials said 105,200 people participated in Saturday’s protests across France, 18,000 of them in the capital Paris, where police reported 10 arrests and three officers slightly injured. Elsewhere there were 24 arrests and seven police officers lightly injured according to the ministry.

Among the larger demonstrations, around 6,000 demonstrators turned out in Toulon, while in Montpellier police used teargas during clashes with protesters.

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France recorded 303,669 new coronavirus cases on Saturday amid mounting pressure on hospitals.

The Paris protesters, many of them unmasked, braved the cold and rain brandishing placards emblazoned with the word “truth” and “No to vaccine passes”.

Others took aim at Macron, using the same coarse language he employed in his attack on people holding out against vaccination earlier in the week.

Macron said Friday that he fully stands by controversial remarks he made on Tuesday, when he vowed to “piss off” people not vaccinated against Covid-19 until they accept shots.

The earthy language and uncompromising approach provoked uproar in French media and from opponents.

Member comments

  1. The Macron obsession with vaccinations has now reached ludicrous levels. Last Sunday the ministry of health gave written instruction that vaccinated but Covid infected healthcare workers can carry on working in French hospitals. So, now we have the crazy situation where unvaccinated , uninfected healthcare workers are suspended whilst vaccinated, infected workers carry on working. Is this nuts or what ?

      1. Try looking up LBC and The Independent and a host of others . Hard to believe it’s not circulating in the French media. The only restrictions quoted by the ministry, is that their symptoms should not be too severe and they should minimise contact with co-workers and patients.

        1. I read French media regarding French matters – you should try it. Most of the British ones tend to carer to the British anti-French mentality and present a very twisted picture of reality.

          I did find related information on franceinfo – however, unsurprisingly, it is not what you painted it to be. It is a part of emergency plans for Omicron wave adopted by the French government, where such staff might be allowed to work if:
          – huge numbers of healthcare workers (in the region of 50%) are off work because of COVID
          – and only in specific locations

          As of now, this haven’t happened yet.

          1. According to AP it’s rolling out this week. BTW , first time I’ve heard that The Independent is ‘anti-French’. Seems you have a bad case of ‘shoot the messenger’.

          2. The regulation is “rolling out” – not the actual use of sick workers. That would happen (or not) when it is needed.

          3. The regulation being rolled out next week is an exemption to self-isolation requirements for healthcare workers . It will not be employed uniformly but will empower individual hospitals to make the decision for themselves. The 50% of staff absent you quoted is the criteria that Marseilles hospital will use. Why the Government prefers to retain vaccinated, Covid infected staff whilst suspending unvaccinated, uninfected staff will no doubt remain a mystery.

          4. Keep your nose out of French affairs that are designed to protect French citizens. If you are not prepared to abide by your host country’s rules, go back to your plaque island. Try reading some decent French papers for a change, you might learn something to your advantage. Hang on though, they are in French.

          5. Unless, Boggy, French citizens are anatomically different from everyone else, explain how this instruction /exemption is protective of their health. You seem, however, to be intellectually incapable of addressing the issue in any of your posts so why do you bother ? Were you a bit ‘slow’ at school ?

          6. Why are you so rude?

            You obviously don’t like the French government helping their citizens, perhaps you’d be happier as the previous poster mentioned returning to your preferred home country.

          7. I would love it, Harley, if the French Govt were to help their citizens. So would millions of French citizens. Like Boggy, of course, you confuse Government with country. You might have left all your critical faculties at Dover but that’s not the case , fortunately, for most. As for being rude, I think if you look at the posts in the order they were posted you’ll find that ‘being rude’ is not only Boggy’s default position but his only reason for posting.

          8. I think you are confusing country and governments roles in protecting their citizens, and looking at your other posts, rude is most definitely your raison d’être.

            Do not bother to reply, I really am not interested in your “British” opinion, people like yourself was one of the many reasons I left to find a much better place to live.

          9. Governments come and go. If you support them blindly, you’ll end up going dizzy from all the somersaulting. By the way , my posting on the Govt exemption to allow Covid infected doctors and nurses to carry on working was not a ‘British’ opinion, just an opinion. You and boggy should try engaging with the subject or don’t bother posting.

          10. Read more intelligent journals than this blog and the Daily Mail and you never know even you might learn something But one doubts it.

    1. Hi all. Thanks for commenting on stories on The Local. It’s good to read the views of readers, but some of the comments descend into personal abuse which we cannot accept. When commenting please stick to the subject and make your point without resorting to personal attacks. We will be forced to close the comment section if readers cannot be civil to each other and ban them from commenting. Thanks. Ben McPartland (managing editor)

  2. I don’t suspect monsieur Macron is too bothered about 100,000 anti vaxers, they are your usual antiestablishment nutters, they probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway.

    I suspect the majority of the French people are happy that action is finally being taken against the selfish minority l know I certainly am.

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POLITICS

French MPs suspend debate on introduction of vaccine pass

The debate on the replacement of France's health pass with a vaccine pass - effectively barring unvaccinated people from venues including bars and cafés - was the subject of a surprise suspension on Monday night after MPs refused to continue.

Health minister Olivier Véran speaks in parliament during debates on the vaccine pass.
Health minister Olivier Véran speaks in parliament during debates on the vaccine pass. Photo: Stephane du Sakatin/AFP

The bill’s headline measure is aimed at getting France’s remaining five million unvaccinated people over 12 to accept a shot.

At present a health pass is required to access numerous everyday venues including bars, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, leisure centres and long distance train travel – but a recent negative test is accepted for the health pass.

The bill aims to replace the health pass with a vaccine pass – which would only allow people who are fully vaccinated to gain access to those venues.

The debate began in the Assemblée nationale on Monday, but later on Monday a majority of MPs refused to continue to debate by a show of hands, leading to the suspension of the motion.

The debate was scheduled to continue until the early hours, but MPs said they simply did not have enough time to examine all aspects of the bill.

the debate will restart on Tuesday evening, but this could mean that the government’s desired introduction date for the vaccine pass of January 15th will have to be put back.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has stoked average daily confirmed cases to more than 160,000 per day over the past week, with peaks above 200,000.

“The tidal wave has indeed arrived, it’s enormous, but we will not give in to panic,” Health Minister Olivier Véran told parliament.

Reacting to critics who say the law infringes on people’s civil liberties, Véran added that “selfishness often hides behind talk of supposed liberty”.

Although there is fierce opposition to the bill in parts of the left and far-right, the support of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party and most opposition conservatives and socialists should see it through the lower house.

It is expected to come into force on January 15th after passing through the upper house Senate.

As well as the headline shift to granting access to many aspects of public life based on vaccines, the bill would also mean heavier penalties for those sharing or forging their vaccine passes, and for venues failing to check up on them.

People holding or making a fake pass could face a sentence as high as five years in prison and a fine of €75,000.

France has also tweaked rules for how schools should react to infected pupils, allowing them to return sooner if more frequent follow-up tests prove negative after just five days.

Later Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex was expected to meet with ministers to discuss the impact on crucial services like hospitals, transport, policing and energy from large numbers of people calling in sick.

And after meeting representatives from employers’ organisations, and the tourism, hotel and restaurant industries, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the government would extend access to aid for businesses suffering under anti-Covid measures.

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