Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in France on Saturday to express their opposition in the face of arbitrary government measures to fight Covid-19. Nine people were arrested in Paris.
More than 160 000 people demonstrated on Saturday, July 24 in various cities of France against the health pass and the vaccination obligation of caregivers, with cries of “Liberty, freedom”, according to the Interior Ministry. In every major city in France, people marched against the new measures.
This is a significant increase because on July 17, the Ministry said 114 000 people had demonstrated. Not all demonstrations were declared in prefectures, but a Facebook page “Mouvement Citoyen Sans Étiquette” lists dozens of marches, suggesting that the numbers were far higher than officially recognized.
Images of masses of people angry about the #PassSanitaire circulated on social media. Health Minister Olivier Véran earlier tried to minimize the opposition to President Macron’s forced vaccination campaign, describing them as an “ultra minority”.
The biggest marches took place in Paris, but also in the south of France, in Marseille, Nice, Montpellier and Bordeaux. In the capital, the demonstrators split into three distinct groups.
Essentially made up of Yellow Vests, a first group gathered at the Porte de Champerret. Along the way, sporadic incidents pitted police and protesters in the 9th arrondissement, then near the Champs-Elysées after the march had ended, according to AFP journalists. Nine people were arrested, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
On the Place du Trocadéro, in the 15th arrondissement, several thousands of people, rarely masked, gathered at the call of Florian Philippot.
The French Senate voted last week to allow Covid vaccinations for 16-18 year olds without parental authorization. Florian Philippot, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), former Vice President of the National Front from 2012 to 2017 and founder of a new party, The Patriots in September 2017, said the French were cancelling their subscriptions to theaters, planning more huge demonstrations and also strikes as in Montelimar.
He commented dryly that the harsh measures in France against Covid “produces antibodies in the face of an oligarchic aggression of unheard-of violence”.
Véran has promised that “we will end the #PassSanitaire as soon as we can” but as Philippot pointed out, the criteria on which this will be decided remains a mystery.
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