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Demos against Macron, Le Pen and the health pass planned in Paris

This Saturday - the mid-point of the second round of the presidential election - will be marked by multiple demonstrations in Paris. Here's what is happening.

Demos against Macron, Le Pen and the health pass planned in Paris
Multiple demonstrations are planned for Paris this weekend. Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

If you’re in central Paris over the weekend, expect to see at least one demo.

Anti far-right

The one that is expected to be the largest is a union-organisation demonstration against the far right.

Jointly organised by the League of Human Rights with several unions (CGT, FSE, FSU, FAGE, Unef) the protest is to express anger over the presence of far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election.

Numerous campaign and pressure groups have also said they will be attending this, including Greenpeace France, Osez le Féminisme, SOS Racisme, the Cimade, Marche des Solidarités, Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth and 350.org.

A spokesman said: “The extreme right is once again present in the second round of the presidential election, with an unprecedented level of votes. We refuse to see it come to power.”

The demo starts at 2pm on Saturday at Place de la Nation, moving to Place de la République.

Organisers have also called for demonstrations across France.

A march in Marseille is set to start at the Vieux Port at 2pm on Saturday and a demonstration is to take place on Wednesday, April 20th, in front of the Strasbourg central campus law school with the aim of “making the voice of youth heard in the face of the Macron-Le Pen battle”.

Anti Macron

Not taking this lying down, the far right have organised a demonstration against Emmanuel Macron – Le Pen’s rival in the second round of the election on April 24th.

The demonstration is organised by Les Patriotes, a group headed by anti-vaxxer Florian Phillipott, who is a former member of Rassemblement National and remains close to Le Pen.

Organisers say the event is anti-Macron and will call on people to vote for his rival.

It starts at 3pm in Place Fontenoy in the 7th arrondissement. 

Anti health pass

The health pass has been scrapped for almost all venues in France, but a small group of ‘yellow vests’ are still protesting about it.

This demo will start at 11am in Place de l’Italie, moving to Place de la Nation, while a second anti-health pass march will follow the route of the anti far-right march, leaving at 1pm.

The anti-health pass protests have been happening every Saturday since last summer, but although they initially attracted tens of thousands of participants, in recent months the turnout has numbered no more than a couple of dozen.

Pro Ukraine

And finally a march showing solidarity with Ukraine against the Russian invasion will go in the opposite direction, starting at Place de la République and heading to Place de la Nation, on Saturday afternoon.

This has been a regular event since the invasion 50 days ago.

Member comments

  1. My wife has just announced that, as part of her French birthright, she will on Saturday be leading a demonstration against demonstrations.

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POLITICS

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.

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