France: Police clash with protesters in Paris
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Opposition politicians have launched scathing attacks of the French President’s proposals to lock parts of every day life behind strict documentation. The “health pass” to enter all restaurants, trains, planes and some other public venue will initially apply to all adults. It is expected to be strengthened to include everyone 12 and older from September 30.
To get the pass, people must have proof they are fully vaccinated, a recent negative test or proof of a recent recovery from the virus.
The rules will be applied through to November 15, depending on the spread of the coronavirus.
The French senate late on Saturday approved a bill to introduce the new rules, which also requires all workers in the health care sector to start getting jabbed by September 15 or risk suspension.
Politicians eventually managed to soften the diktats to ensure that the new coronavirus certificate exempts outdoor areas at restaurants and cafes.
The law has now won approval from the lower house of the French parliament and can enter into full legal force.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the left-wing La France Insoumise party, fumed: “The Health Pass changes the nature of the society in which we want to live.
“So from a health crisis, we go towards a political crisis.
“With the health pass begins the era of conditional freedom in France.”
He added: “You remain free provided that the Macronist regime, its states of emergency and its controls, give you permission. This conditional freedom, like well-behaved convicts, is the society of permanent control.
“In certain circumstances, no prohibition is valid. In this case, once again, it will be an honour to disobey. And a duty to be rebellious.”
Members of far-right Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National also lashed out at Mr Macron’s attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
RN senator Stephane Ravier said: “Does the government want to ban you from voting? While I table an amendment to exclude polling stations form the application of the Health Pass, the right-wing senators are voting against.
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“Is this to ensure the re-election of Emmanuel Macron?
“We don’t want Minority Report’s dystopia. It is the French, vaccinated or not, who refuse this increasingly policed state for honest people.
“The government has an inferiority complex with the Chinese Communist Big Brother and seeks to level the playing field by restricting freedoms.”
The fury comes after 161,000 people marched on the streets of France, in a number of its major cities, to demonstrate against Mr Macron’s push for mandatory vaccination and the Health Pass.
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An official conceded that the protest movements against government’s coronavirus restrictions are growing.
They said 161,000 people had marched against the French President’s clamp down on the spread of the virus, up from 114,000 a week earlier.
New polling shows that around 35 percent of French citizens support the protests against President Macron’s measures.
The Ifop study found that 49 percent were opposed to the growing movement against the restrictions.
It was found that almost 80 percent of people who refuse to take up an offer of a coronavirus vaccine are in favour of the demonstrations.
And the support is strongest in French youth, with 51 percent of the encouragement coming from under-35s.
The Ifop survey, carried out for the Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, questioned 1,002 participants aged 18 or over between July 20 and 21.
Mr Macron said: “What is your freedom wo
rth if you say to me ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated,’ but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?”
On a visit in French Polynesia, he said protesters are “Free to express themselves in a calm and respectful manner”, but insisted they won’t make the coronavirus go away.
He hit out at “people who are in the business of irrational, sometimes cynical, manipulative mobilisation” against the vaccine.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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