Monday, August 2, 2021

Growing protest in France against vaccine passes

Macron’s vaccine passport is uniting French anti-fascists and nationalists | The Spectator - Gavin Mortimer, Coffee House:

August 2, 2021 - "For the third consecutive Saturday, thousands of people marched to protest against the introduction of the government's Covid passport. Almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets in 180 demonstrations, according to the government. These numbers are disputed by the organisers, who claim they are wildly conservative. But whatever the exact figure, it was a phenomenal number of demonstrators for the final weekend of July. A fortnight ago, according to the government, approximately 114,000 marched; and last week it was 161,000. To break the 200,000 mark is an indication of how the protest movement is growing.

"The demonstrators come from all cross-sections of society, and are overwhelmingly passive. The march I witnessed in Paris on Saturday featured an impressive array of fancy dress, dozens of children, a lot of dancing, and scores of placards relaying various messages, none of which were complimentary to president Macron. What was also notable was the low-key police presence. I saw none of the riot squad, only the regular Paris police, some of whom chatted happily to the demonstrators as they filed past.... According to the Minister of the Interior there were 19 arrests at Saturday's nationwide protests, ten of which were in Paris....

"The coverage in the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times was ... reductive. 'Thousands of anti-vaxxers march through Paris,' was the headline in the former, while the latter went with: 'Far right and gilets jaunes find common cause in France's antivax carnival.' The rallies across France were indeed marked by a carnival atmosphere, but the majority of those in attendance were not from the far right or the Yellow Vest movement and nor were they opposed to the vaccine. A minority are – or they oppose the vaccination of children – but most gave up their Saturday to defend the principles of Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

"The French media made the same mistake when the protest movement began. Most have now toned down their hostile coverage, acknowledging that the principle motivation for demonstrators is opposition to the introduction of a Covid passport that they claim is discriminatory.... According to political analyst Vincent Tournier, anti-fascists and nationalists have joined forces to resist what he described as 'the inception of a form of privilege: in creating two categories of citizens, one calls into question the civic culture that's founded on a deep-rooted attachment to equality'....

"[B]oth the grassroots left and right believe they have been abandoned by their political masters, few of whom have kicked up a fuss at the imposition of the passport. The muteness of most Unions has also been noted. As a consequence there is a perception among the people of a growing ideological chasm between themselves and a privileged elite....

"Macron's Covid passport is currently being scrutinised by the constitutional council, which has the power to order the government to make changes. It will announce its ruling on Thursday. If the council raises no objections, the passport will be implemented in its entirety on 9 August. Macron insists it's all in a good cause, but more and more of his people disagree."

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