Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

President Emmanuel Macron came under fire from political rivals for saying he wanted to “piss” the unvaccinated by depriving them of restaurants, theaters and social activities to pressure them to protect themselves against Covid-19.

“There is a small minority of people who resist,” he said in a statement. maintenance with Le Parisien newspaper published Tuesday night.

“We can reduce it, I’m sorry to say, by pissing them off even more. I’m not here to dismiss the French, I’ll complain all day about the administration if it bothers them. But the unvaccinated, I want to make them very angry. So this is what we will continue to do, until the end. This is the strategy. “I will not send them to jail, I will not vaccinate them by force,” he said.

Macron’s remarks were criticized by his competitors in the upcoming presidential election as well as by opposition lawmakers, who discussed the government’s draft law that would require proof of vaccination to gain access to public places, including restaurants, cafes and theaters. A negative Covid test will no longer be sufficient.

The late-night parliamentary session in the National Assembly has been suspended after the opposition demanded that the prime minister “come and justify” the use of the phraseGo away”, Snake derived from the French word for shit.

The far-right presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen accused Macron of relinquishing his responsibility to unite the French, calling his words “vulgar” and “violent.”

“It shows the president wants to declare war on a section of the French public, which I remind you, even if we do not share their choices, no laws have been broken,” Le Pen told the National Assembly.

Valerie Pécresse, the candidate for the Les Républicains, said she was “furious” at Macron’s proposal that the unvaccinated could no longer be considered responsible citizens. Macron justified this conclusion in the interview by saying that the unvaccinated threaten the freedom of others.

“I want to appreciate the efforts made by the French, not to humiliate those who have not been vaccinated from the Elysée,” Pécresse said. NEWS, and accuses Macron of a “terrible lack of empathy”.

Green Party candidate Yannick Jadot found Macron’s comments unhelpful: “Do you think insulting people will convince them to be vaccinated?”

The episode comes when the more transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant Covid infections pushed to record highs with about 272,000 cases reported on Tuesday, making France among the worst-hit countries in Europe.

Macron’s government has bet that the push campaign and some light touch restrictions such as homework and wearing masks will be enough to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Train hospitals has already begun canceling non-emergency surgeries in the Marseille and Paris regions, and doctors acknowledge that they are rationing beds in intensive care.

About 79 percent of the French population was vaccinated with two doses, and 34 percent received a booster, according to Santé publique France, although the proportion of those who received a booster is much higher for older people. This leaves about 5 million eligible people unvaccinated, including some militant anti-vaxxers, but also adolescents and housebound or isolated elderly people.

Before the pandemic, academic studies showed that France was one of the most vaccine reluctant countries worldwide.

But Macron’s creation of a so-called health pass last summer, which required proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to gain access to many public places, helped boost immunization rates in France to below the highest in Europe. He now wants to turn it into a “vaccine pass”, which would mean that only the vaccinated can use it.

The episode was the return of the more combative Macron after several TV interviews in December in which he tried project more empathy. During his tenure, he repeatedly made statements that critics found arrogant and derogatory, such as when he told an unemployed gardener that he could easily get a job “just by crossing the street” or when he criticized has. the state’s spending of “crazy money” on anti-poverty programs.

When asked by Le Parisien whether he would like to run for re-election, he stopped declaring his candidacy officially, but indicated his intentions as polls show him as the frontrunner.

“There is no false tension. I want to, ”Macron said.

Additional post by Sarah White

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