For the sixth week in a row, thousands of French people took to the streets this Saturday (21) to protest against the health passport, the control mechanism implemented by the Macron government to restrict access to closed environments to those who are completely immunized against Covid-19 or present a negative test for the disease.
The demonstrations were repeated from north to south of the country in a peaceful tone, bringing together people of different political tendencies around the indignation against the control of circulation and what they call the “mandatory vaccine”.
“Take the vaccine if you want, but we are against a passport to enter the hospital or to go shopping, we demand the repeal of the law”, said one of the emblematic figures of the “yellow vests” movement, Jêrome Rodrigues in Pau, a city in the region of the French Pyrenees, in front of 2,700 demonstrators.
To the north, in Lille, the protest drew 3,200 people, according to the official count, and was headed by a banner that read “We will take Macron, with his passport and his stupid reforms”(“Dégageons Macron avec son pass et ses réformes à la con “, in French).
Against the health passport
The protesters are trying to put pressure on the government of Emmanuel Macron, which is currently restricting access to restaurants, cinemas, bars and even long-distance trains to people who are fully immunized or who have tested negative for the disease.. The test, done today for free, will be charged in the coming months for those who do not have a medical request.
Participating in the protest in Paris, Monique Bourhis, “unvaccinated” at 75, said she was not against the vaccine, “I’m waiting for the French one.” The country, so far, has adopted vaccines from Astrazenec, Pfizer and Moderna.
According to the police, the biggest demonstrations took place in Marseille, with 9,500 people, and in Toulon (6,000). There were also 4,100 protesters in Strasbourg, 3,400 in Bordeaux and Toulouse, 3,000 in Bayonne, 2,500 in Nice, 2,300 in Nantes and 2,000 in Caen.
In Paris, the protesters were divided into four protests, two of them initiated by groups in “yellow vests” and one by Florian Philippot, leader of the far-right “Patriots” party. In the march led by Philippot, the name of physician Didier Raoult, a staunch advocate of the use of hydroxochloroquine against Covid-19, was widely applauded.
In support of the doctor who continues to support the use of hydroxychloroquine, despite numerous studies showing its ineffectiveness against Covi, many protesters in Paris and Marseille carried “Don’t Touch Raoult” banners.
This week, the director of the Hospitals de Marseille said that Raoult, who works at the Institute of the University Hospital of Marseille, should not maintain his mandate at the head of the institution. At age 69, the researcher will be forced to retire from his university work.
In Bordeaux, in southwestern France, protesters chanted the slogan “don’t touch our children.” Among the protesters, parents and grandparents worried about the extension of vaccination to children under 12 years old — which the government has no forecast yet.
Since June, teenagers between 12 and 17 years can be immunized against Covid-19. So far, 55% of this group has taken at least one dose of the vaccine.
Among the general population of France, 70% have already taken at least one dose of the immunizing agent, and 55% are fully vaccinated.