At least 100,000 people came to the streets of France in protest of the Covid-19 restrictions and mandates, after President Macron threatened to make life harder for the unvaccinated until they take the vaccine.
According to police estimations, the massive crowds on Saturday were nearly four times larger than on December 18. The protests were against a government plan to make proof of Covid-19 vaccination required to use public transportation, eat at restaurants, and attend events, among other things.
The National Assembly of France passed a bill this week that, if adopted by the Senate, will replace existing ‘health passes’ with so-called ‘vaccine passes.’ According to the existing rules, a negative PCR or antigen test grants access to a 24-hour pass. A vaccine pass, on the other hand, would only be given to people who have received all of their vaccinations.
In order to earn a vaccine pass, people infected with Covid-19 would need to have a booster shot three to four months after getting the virus, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran. They could use their recovery certificates in the meanwhile.
According to official estimates, the gathering in Paris numbered at least 18,000 people, with protestors yelling “We’ll piss you off!” in response to Emmanuel Macron‘s contentious comments.
Scuffles in the capital resulted in the arrest of ten protestors and the injury of three police officers. At least another two dozen people were held at protests in other French cities, according to reports.
“I am not about pissing off the French people. But as for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off,” said Macron, during an interview with Le Parisien on Tuesday.
Macron said that his “strategy” is to “piss off” unvaccinated French people “to the end,” claiming that only a “small minority” opposes government restrictions.
The opponents of vaccine passes in the overseas community of France Saint-Pierre and Miquelon pelted the deputy of Macron’s party Stéphane Claireaux with mud.