French protest against corona pass is growing: ‘Never thought to live in such a time’

It is the fourth consecutive weekend that campaigns have taken place in France, but never before have so many people been on their feet. Last week was the largest so far with 204,000 thousand people – an estimate.

French media report demonstrations in Paris, Nice and Montpellier and many other cities, among others. Protest signs are carried with texts such as “no to dictatorship” and the French chant slogans such as “Macron, we don’t want your health card.”

Among other things, the comparison with the Second World War is drawn. “It is blackmail, we are forced to take the vaccine. I am Jewish, and I never thought I would ever live in a time where I would be denied access to places,” one Emanuelle told Le Monde.

According to the authorities, there are actions in 198 places in the country. So far, 35 people have been arrested, seven officers suffered minor injuries. The Yellow Vests are also present again. “We have lost a battle, but we will succeed and turn this around!” shouts electrician Jérôme Rodrigues of the organization, who says he wants to fight for ‘freedom’ and hopes to convince the ‘sheep’ of the importance.

Incidents

It is restless in some places. Images circulated on social media of officers firing tear gas at activists in Toulouse and Lyon. They try to disperse rioters who pelt them.

Also in Paris there were charges by the police who arrested people. Among the protesters are left-wing anarchists, far-right militants and remnants of the ‘yellow vests’, but at the same time, given the massiveness, the demonstrations seem to transcend the radical.

However, a minority is becoming more militant. Macron’s ruling party LREM says it receives more and more death threats. On social media, cafe owners who demand a corona pass are labeled as collaborators. Journalists are also sometimes attacked. A protester tried to set the camera of the Dutch channel NOS on fire with a lighter on Saturday – to the anger of most protesters, by the way.

Four weeks in a row

More than two hundred demonstrations had been announced for Saturday. French people across the country have also protested in large numbers over the past three Saturdays.

Last Saturday, more than 200,000 protesters expressed their dismay at President Emmanuel Macron’s policy of granting more freedoms to vaccinated people. “We now expect the same number of protesters globally,” a police spokesman told AFP news agency.

With the corona pass you can prove that you have been vaccinated, tested negative or cured. The pass will be mandatory in more and more places, from Monday, for example, for cafes and restaurants, large shopping centers, hospitals, healthcare institutions and long-distance trains. It is already needed for museums, cinemas and major events, among other things. French people can put the health card on their smartphone. A vaccination obligation for healthcare staff will also apply from Monday.

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