Macron this week announced sweeping measures to tackle a rapid rise in new coronavirus infections, including mandatory vaccination of health workers and new health card rules for the general public.
In doing so, it went further than most other European countries, as the highly contagious Delta variant sparks a new wave of cases, and other governments are closely monitoring the reaction of the French public. (Graph on global cases)
Police repeatedly fired tear gas as pockets of protesters knocked over trash cans and set a mechanical shovel on fire. Some demonstrators away from the skirmishes wore badges saying “No to the sanitary pass”.
Some critics of Macron’s plan – which will force malls, cafes, bars and restaurants to check all customers’ health cards from August – accuse the president of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against those who do not. don’t want the COVID vaccine.
“It is totally arbitrary and totally anti-democratic,” said a protester who identified himself as Jean-Louis.
Macron says the vaccine is the best way to get France back on the path to normalcy and that he encourages as many people as possible to get vaccinated.