Huge protest in France against Macron's plan for health passes

Huge protest in France against Macron's plan for health passes

Covid rebels march in cities across France against Emmanuel Macron’s plans to force health workers to get vaccines and a new rule demanding passports for restaurants and bars

  • Huge crowds gathered in 137 locations across France to protest Emmanuel Macron’s Covid unlocking plans 
  • Macron wants to force healthcare workers to get Covid jabs and use health passes in restaurants and cinemas 
  • Protesters waved flags reading ‘liberte!’ saying Macron has ‘no right’ to force people’s hand on heath issues
  • France, known as Europe’s most vaccine-skeptic country, currently has low Covid cases but they have started climbing amid spread of the more-infectious Delta variant 

More than a hundred thousand people marched across France on Saturday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to force vaccination of health workers and require a COVID-19 free certificate to enter places such as restaurants and cinemas.

Macron this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in coronavirus infections, which protesters say infringe the freedom of choice of those who do not want the vaccination.

The interior ministry said 137 marches took place across the country, gathering nearly 114,000 people, of which 18,000 were in Paris.

The measures had already prompted smaller demonstrations earlier this week, forcing police to use tear gas to disperse protesters.

‘Everyone is sovereign in his own body. In no way does a president of the Republic have the right to decide on my individual health,’ said one protester in Paris who identified herself as Chrystelle.

Thousands of protesters take to the streets of Marseille on Saturday to demonstrate against new rules that would force healthcare workers to get vaccines and require health passes to enter restaurants and cinemas

Female marchers chant slogans as they join demonstrations in Paris on Saturday against Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reopen the country following Covid lockdowns

Thousands of Anti-Vaccine demonstrators march through the streets of Paris in protest to new restrictions announced by French President Emmanuel Macron

People demonstrate against the new coronavirus safety measures including a compulsory health pass called for by the French government, in Nantes, western France


Protesters fill the streets of Marseille as they hit out at plans to reopen the country’s economy using health passes 

Anti-Vaccine demonstrators march through the streets of Paris in protest to new restrictions announced by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week

Demonstrators chant through the streets of Paris in protest to new restrictions announced by President Emmanuel Macron

A protester carries a banner likening the new Covid rules to ‘apartheid’ during demonstrations in Paris on Saturday

A man holding a Tricolor placard emblazoned with the word ‘liberte’ takes place in demonstrations in Paris

A woman holds a placard reading ‘We are not laboratory subjects ! Freedom to refuse experimental injection’, during a demonstration in Nantes on Saturday

Protestors holding national flags listen to a speech during a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures including a compulsory health pass called for by the French government, in Paris

A protestor (left) holds a placard reading ‘We are not QR codes’ during demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures in Marseille

Protestors take part in a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures including a compulsory health pass called for by the French government, in the Louvre museum area in Paris

Marches also included ‘yellow vest’ protesters seeking to revive the anti-government movement curbed by coronavirus lockdowns.

Visiting a centre in Anglet in southwestern France, Prime Minister Jean Castex said vaccination, which is not mandatory for the general public for now, is the only way to fight the virus.

‘I hear the reluctance that arises but I think that we must at all costs convince all our fellow citizens to be vaccinated, it is the best way to cope to this health crisis,’ Castex said.

Despite the strength of the protests, an Ipsos-Sopra Steria poll released on Friday found more than 60% of French people agree with mandatory vaccination for health workers, as well as a requirement for a health pass in some public places.

Fast-spreading variants of the virus risk undermining economic recovery if allowed to spiral out of control, forcing some governments to rethink their COVID-19 strategies just as citizens start their summer holidays.

Earlier on Saturday Castex’s office said France would reinforce restrictions on unvaccinated travellers from a series of countries to counter a rebound in COVID-19 infections, while opening its doors to those who have received all their shots.

‘The Delta variant is here, we must not hide the truth, it is more contagious than the previous ones. We must adapt and face it’, Castex told reporters in southwestern France, referring to the variant first identified in India.

After falling from more than 42,000 per day in mid-April to less than 2,000 per day in late June, the average number of new infections in France has rebounded to reach nearly 11,000 per day.

Some 55.5% of the French had had a single dose of a vaccine as of Saturday and 44.8% were fully inoculated.

Protesters march against rules that will require people to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to access bars, cafes, restaurants, shopping centres, hospitals, long-distance trains and planes from August 1

Protestors take part in a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures including a compulsory health pass called for by the French government, in the Louvre museum area in Paris

Marchers make their way through the streets of Paris as they protest against mandatory vaccination rules

Protestors take part in a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures in Paris on Saturday

A protestor holds a placard reading ‘No to the health pass = new apartheid’ during demonstration in Marseille 

Protestors hold signs reading “my body, my choices, my freedom”, “care assisant in anger”, during a demonstration in Nantes

A protestor holds a placard reading “compelled pass = dictatorship” during a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures in Marseille

Protestors take part in a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures in Paris

A demonstrator dressed as the statue of Liberty takes part in a protest against the new measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron to fight Covid in Paris

Also among the crowd are socialist yellow jacket demonstrators who have been involved in long-term protests against Mr Macron’s economic policies

Demonstrators make peace signs as they take part in a march against France’s new Covid measures in Paris

A member of the yellow vest movement shouts during a demonstration against the new Covid safety measures in Nantes

An Anti-Vaccine protestor leads demonstrations as thousands take to the streets of Paris to protest against new restrictions announced by French President Emmanuel Macron

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