Protesters in Paris were greeted by volleys of tear gas after vehicles were set on fire during protests against President Macron’s new Covid laws making injections mandatory for health workers and demanding vaccine passports for those wishing to be go to bars and restaurants.
Hundreds of cafe owners, hospital workers and parents, some chanting “Liberty!” Liberty !, ‘visited the French capital on Bastille Day to rebel against President Macron’s controversial plans that were presented this week in an attempt to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
Large crowds were confronted by riot police, who fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the advancing group. Protesters and police kicked tear gas canisters at each other, and cyclists quietly crept through the crowd.
Some of the protesters set fire to a mechanical shovel and overturned trash cans, while others wore badges denying the new measures: “No to health passes”.
In April, President Macron promised that vaccine passports would “never be used to divide” the French. But, in mid-July, the French prime minister is demanding concerts, venues and more to verify proof of vaccine status or a negative PCR test in a bid to boost the country’s vaccination rates.
The restrictions will extend by August, which means those who want a beer at a bar, families going out to dinner, transit passengers, and loved ones visiting care homes will all need to. proof of a negative test or vaccine.
On September 15, it will become mandatory for healthcare workers and caregivers to receive a coronavirus vaccine – with threats of dismissal if refused.
Hundreds of protesters chanting “Liberty! »Marched in Paris to rebel against the controversial plans of Emmanuel Macron
The protests took a turn for the worse when activists clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas into the crowd. Pictured: A masked protester pushes back a gas canister in central Paris
Many doctors and scientists had urged Macron to institute stricter measures to contain the virus.
He appears to have followed their advice and the “sanitary pass” – a written record or application that shows proof of a negative PCR test or a person’s immunization status – was born.
Speaking in a speech earlier this week, Mr Macron said: ‘If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to rise. “
While vaccines will not be mandatory for those working outside the health sector, Macron added that it was a choice of “individual responsibility … but also a matter of freedom”.
But critics have criticized the French president for depriving part of the population of their free will and accused him of targeting those who refuse to be vaccinated.
Police arrest protester during protest against new measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron
French policeman helps woman with dog during Bastille Day protests
A man wearing large glasses holds a French national flag as he takes part in a march through central Paris on July 14, 2021
The organizers of this year’s parade dubbed it an “optimistic July 14” aimed at “winning the future” and “celebrating a united France behind the tricolor to emerge from the pandemic”.
While this optimism was widely felt in France a few weeks ago, the clouds have returned to the national mood as the delta variant fuels new infections.
Last year’s parade was canceled and replaced with a static ceremony honoring healthcare workers who died fighting COVID-19. France has lost more than 111,000 lives in total as a result of the pandemic.
Images showed mechanical equipment on fire in the streets of Paris and demonstrators clashing violently with riot police in the city center and eastern neighborhoods.
Leading Wednesday’s parade were members of a European force fighting extremists in Mali and the surrounding Sahel region.
Macron announced last week that France is withdrawing at least 2,000 troops from the region due to evolving threats and is focusing its efforts more on the multinational force Takuba.
French café owners, hospital workers and parents oppose Emmanuel Macron’s decision to institute a Covid pass for anyone over the age of 12 visiting a restaurant and requiring all healthcare workers in the countries get vaccinated
Riot police clash with protesters in central Paris during a large protest against a government decision to impose Covid-19 tests on unvaccinated people who want to eat in restaurants
Protesters, some wearing masks, erected large barricades in central Paris to prevent police access
Other people honored at the parade included military medics who transported vaccines to French overseas territories, treated patients infected with the virus, or otherwise helped fight the pandemic.
Mirage and Rafale fighter planes thunder in formation.
In the closing moments of the parade, two horses stumbled, knocking their Republican Guard riders onto the sidewalk. The guards quickly overpowered the horses and took them away.
Just before the ceremony, a soldier identified as Maximilian proposed to his girlfriend in a picturesque moment against the backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe, earning a round of warm applause.
Macron and his wife Brigitte spoke at length after the ceremony with the families of soldiers killed or injured in the performance of their duties.
On the eve of the event, Macron reiterated his willingness to strengthen defense cooperation between European countries and strengthen global defense efforts against Islamic extremists.
“This moment of conviviality, of reunion … is above all an opportunity for us to address our brothers in arms and their families, and to send them a message of gratitude,” said Macron.
Wednesday July 14 is recognized as “Bastille Day” in France and marks the capture of the Bastille prison in eastern Paris on the same date in 1789, which is commemorated as the birth of the French Revolution.