Nearly 114,000 people demonstrated on Saturday in several cities of France, according to the Ministry of the Interior, against the extension of the health pass or the vaccination obligation for caregivers, measures announced five days ago by the French President .
“Freedom”, “Macron dictator” … From North to South, the slogans were similar. From Marseille to Lille and from Montpellier to Paris, nearly 114,000 people demonstrated across France on Saturday July 17 afternoon, according to the Interior Ministry, against the anti-Covid-19 measures announced this week by Emmanuel Macron such as compulsory vaccination for caregivers and the extension of the health pass.
The ministry identified 136 gatherings which mobilized nearly 96,000 people in the regions. In Paris, nearly 18,000 people demonstrated, added Place Beauvau.
136 gatherings throughout France
“We have doubts about the Covid vaccines, it’s not that we think the Earth is flat but we don’t know the long-term effects of these hastily cobbled together vaccines that Macron wants us to do. impose, ”summarizes Rita, a 39-year-old nurse, crossed in the procession in Montpellier where, according to the prefecture, 5,500 people demonstrated.
On the Old Port of Marseille, they were around 4,250, according to the police headquarters, pointing to “sheep” who are vaccinated, “bad information” given to them on television.
In Nice, around 1,600 demonstrators, yellow vests, opponents of the health pass, the compulsory vaccine or vaccination in general, marched for several hours in the city center.
In the western half of the country, the mobilization seemed a little less. In Bordeaux, the prefecture, which had issued a ban on demonstrating in the city center, counted 1,200 people; the demonstrators blocking the circulation of trams and cars in certain places.
In Toulouse, the prefecture counted 2,500 demonstrators, just like in Metz where, here as elsewhere, we could read on the signs of the procession: “No to the Nazi pass”, “false pandemic, true dictatorship” or “I am not a QR code “.
In Strasbourg, the demonstration brought together 2,800 people according to figures from the prefecture. A few people wore a yellow star, noted an AFP journalist. In Nancy, they were 1,200 at the height of the mobilization.
In Dijon, the police used tear gas and the circulation of trams was briefly interrupted by demonstrators chanting “Liberty! Liberty!”.
Nine people were arrested in Lyon on the sidelines of an unauthorized demonstration bringing together nearly 1,000 people according to the Rhône prefecture.
Demonstrations also took place in many other towns in France, such as Quimper (400 people), Perpignan (1,200), Clermond-Ferrand (1,700) or Valence (2,300) as well as other smaller groups. held in Nantes, Saint-Étienne, Roanne or Auxerre.
The far right and the others divided in Paris
In the capital, several thousand people were divided in at least three rallies.
The first procession, where French flags flourished, set off from the Palais-Royal before crossing the Seine, headed by the former number 2 of the National Front Florian Philippot, the former LREM deputy covidosceptic Martine Wonner, the singer Francis Lalanne or the former muse “yellow vests” Jacline Mouraud. Some leaflets diverting the yellow star with the mention “sanitary pass” were also visible.
Before the demonstration, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, president of “Debout la France”, held a press conference in front of the Constitutional Council, denouncing an “unprecedented abuse of power” and a “health coup”, after the announcements by Emmanuel Macron. With the sanitary pass in everyday life, it is according to him the “beginning of a gear towards a dictatorship”.
“We are not anti-vaccines at all”
At the same time, around 1,500 people demonstrated in the streets of the south of the capital, in a disparate procession, preceded by a police cordon.
Departing from the 14th arrondissement, the procession headed towards the Jussieu district, accompanied by banners such as “wanted French Democratic Republic, disappeared on July 12, 2021”, “no to the sanitary pass, stop the dictatorship”, and slogans ” Freedom “,” Macron dictator “.
“We are not anti-vaccines at all. We just want everyone to have the freedom to be vaccinated or not. PCR tests may be enough and then we must leave them free”, launched Aurélie and Tiphaine, in their thirties, both employed in a shopping center in the Paris region.
>> To read: Compulsory vaccination, health pass, PCR tests: Emmanuel Macron puts the unvaccinated under pressure
“We are there for the demands of the yellow vests and the restrictions on freedoms. It is not one more freedom-killing law that makes us go out into the street. We have always been in the street,” said the “yellow vest” Jérôme Rodrigues.
Finally, a few dozen people took part in another unauthorized gathering at Place de la République.