Written by Will Hekman
Both right-wing and left-wing groups protested separately in multiple cities against the French government’s new measures to get people vaccinated to slow down infection rates. Protests were in the cities of Paris, Strasbourg, Lille, and Montpellier. In Paris, recently announced presidential candidate Florian Philippot led the protest to the Louvre, with protesters chanting “Macron, clear off!” Philippot is a former member of the Front National and is currently a member of Les Patriotes or “The Patriots” which he founded back in 2017.
Philippot has organized smaller protests against the French government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, but Saturday’s protest in Paris attracted a new, diverse crowd all with a different reason to protest. Among the protesters were members of the yellow vests there to protest economic injustices and anti-government individuals who were protesting the belief that the government has overstepped its boundaries. In Montpellier, over 1,000 people protested in the streets chanting “Liberty”.
The main entrance to the city was closed off to travelers because of the protests. About 114,000 people participated in protests across France according to the Interior Ministry.
The main reason for protesting was to denounce and reject the requirement of a “health pass”. The “health pass” proves that an individual is either fully vaccinated or has tested negative. The “health pass” will allow people to access areas such as restaurants and other public spaces. This proposal is eerily similar to the “vaccine passports” proposed by some in the United States and in England.
Photo via Florent Moreau