About 237,000 people have moved across France, including 17,000 in Paris, the Interior Ministry said, exceeding 204,000 recorded last weekend and extremely unusual figures for protests at the height of the summer break.
During one of the many demonstrations in Paris, hundreds of people marched from the western suburbs to the center chanting “Freedom! “And” Macron, we don’t want your pass! “.
Wearing a mask, Alexandre Fourez, 34, said he was demonstrating for the first time and that he had recovered from the Covid on his own.
“The problem with the health pass is that our hands are being forced,” said the marketing employee, adding that he “really finds it hard to believe that its use will be temporary”.
At least 37,000 people demonstrated in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on the Mediterranean coast in cities such as Toulon, Nice and Marseille, officials said. Among the slogans: “The health pass is the death of freedoms”.
From Monday, the health pass will be necessary to eat in a restaurant or have a drink in a café, inside or on the terrace. It will be mandatory on intercity transport, including high-speed trains and domestic flights, but will not be necessary on metro systems and suburban transport.
The pass is already required from July 21 to visit cultural places such as cinemas, theaters and museums. Its extension was approved Thursday by the French Constitutional Council.
‘To get vaccinated’
If many demonstrators are among those who refuse to be vaccinated, some have taken the vaccines but are opposed to the principle of the health pass.
Most of the protests were peaceful but there were seven arrests in the southeastern city of Lyon for throwing projectiles while in Dijon a tram line was blocked. There have been 35 arrests nationwide, the interior ministry said, adding that seven members of the security forces sustained minor injuries.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the pass, which under current rules will be required until November 15, was needed to avoid further restrictions as the country battles a fourth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Macron, who is at his official vacation home in the south of France, has taken to the youth-popular social media platform Tik Tok several times in recent days to get his point across.
“Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated, ”Macron said in the last video on Friday.
“It’s about being a good citizen… our freedom is worthless if we infect our friends, neighbors or grandparents. To be free is to be responsible. “
The daily Le Monde said Macron’s decision not to show any patience with the protesters carried risks, even for a leader who appears to thrive in confrontation as during the 2018-2019 “yellow vests” protests.
“It’s a perilous strategy. To play with the street is to play with fire, ”he declared.
The deployment of the vaccine has accelerated in France since the announcement of the health pass plan and the government wants 50 million people to have received at least one vaccine by the end of August. Some 55 percent of the population is now a double hit.