Emmanuel Macron portrait smashed by protestors in Poitiers
The centre-right leader has come under fire for rolling out strict new measures including mandatory vaccination for health workers and carers and a health certificate requirement for social gatherings. From August 9, everyone in France will have to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or proof of immunity to enter a café or travel by plane or inter-city train.
Tomorrow will mark the third consecutive Saturday for angry protesters to stage mass demonstrations against the restrictions.
As French citizens approach the date the new rules are implemented, frustration appears to be growing exponentially.
Speaking anonymously to LCI News, a French police officer admitted: “Anger is growing more and more as the date of the entry into force of the law on the health pass approaches and it is certain that we will see many people this Saturday.”
Leading Frexit campaigner and leader of Les Patriotes Florian Philippot urged opponents of the plan to make their voices known.
Macron is braced for more protests tomorrow
Thousands of people protested against the health pass last weekend
He tweeted: “The demonstration this Saturday will be phenomenal!
“This will be our 37th week, we are open to everyone!
“Blanquer’s announcement of a school apartheid by ‘evicting’ unvaccinated children has aroused anger and increased mobilisation!”
He was referring to the education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer’s announcement yesterday that unvaccinated pupils will be sent home from school during outbreaks.
Protesters were targeted with tear gas near the Arc de Triomphe
In a radio interview, he said: “Only non-vaccinated pupils will be excluded and will have to follow distance learning. We are in a very rational logic.
“My aim is to keep schools open and to make sure that the children and teenagers of France go to school as much as possible.”
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally who will challenge President Macron for his position in next year’s elections, branded the announcement “just revolting”.
She questioned: “How could anyone even think of that?”
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Protesters wave French flags
Police used water cannons to keep protesters back
And Mr Philippot’s fellow Frexit campaigners eager to see France break ties with the EU have called Mr Macron’s health pass “discriminatory”.
Generation Frexit tweeted: “Unity Against 2-Speed Citizenship! Against this tyranny which will ‘oust’ adults and even children too!
“We call for demonstrations everywhere in France this Saturday against the liberticidal and discriminatory #healthpass.”
Over 140,000 demonstrators are expected to take to the streets outside Paris and more than 100 events have already been mentioned on social media.
The gatherings organised for southern cities are also expected to draw huge crowds, with 6,000 tipped to show up in Montpellier and Toulon.
Covid cases around the world
Thousands more are on track to attend marches in Bordeaux, Marseille, Nice, Metz, Strasbourg, Nantes, and Pau.
A source told the news outlet that people from a wide range of social groups are expected, including anti-vaccination campaigners and supporters of the Yellow Vests movement which sprung up in late 2018.
The source said: “The cities of Montpellier, Marseille and Nantes where the ultra-left is present are closely watched.”
Extra police will be deployed in cities where marches are planned.
France is emerging as one of the strictest countries in Europe
Anger has been simmering in France for weeks now as President Macron tightens his grip on public freedoms.
Last week almost 160,000 people marched against Mr Macron’s latest round of measures, some carrying signs which read, “Macron, we don’t want your pass” and “Freedom can’t be injected.
Some parents touted placards daubed with the words, “Don’t touch our caregivers or our children” and “No to compulsory vaccination”.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.