French Politics Updates
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Tens of thousands of people protested in cities in France for the third weekend in a row on Saturday to put an end to what they see as draconian rules, forcing them to be vaccinated against their will.
They march in the streets of Paris, Lyon, Marseille and elsewhere and shout: “This is a health dictatorship!” and “No vaccination, no health pass!”, in protests that include a wide range of social and political movements.
Staunch Communists march with supporters of the right-wing Rassemblement National Party and some of the gilets jaunes movement against a new law that makes Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for health care workers and requires a health card for anyone wishing to enter public places such as restaurants, pubs and high speed trains.
“It’s an experimental vaccine, we do not know what the side effects will be for us or our children,” said Catherine Largo, a 42-year-old dental assistant who is legally required to be vaccinated before the fall. but says she will refuse to do so.
The vaccines used in France have been extensively tested worldwide and approved by the European and French medical authorities.
“I will not be able to get another job, because what else would I do?” she said when she arrived at one of the four protests that took place on Saturday afternoon. “We must have the choice, we must have the freedom to choose.”
Although the final version of the law was watered down this past weekend, a vocal minority of French citizens remain vigilant about the rules, which they say infringe on their personal freedoms. But despite the pockets of angry opponents, the policy has so far proved successful in increasing vaccination rates, and it has been approved by the general public.
According to a poll by Ipsos-Sopra Steria conducted this month, more than 60 per cent of people are in favor of the health pass to enter public places and 70 per cent support compulsory vaccination for caregivers.
And the number of protesters has decreased slightly. About 150,000 people took to the streets of France on Saturday, up from 161,000 a week earlier, according to Interior Ministry estimates.
One protester missing this week was François Asselineau, president of the pro-Frexit Popular Republican Union party and an ardent campaigner against the health pass, who was unable to attend the march in Paris after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday. not.
The 2022 presidential candidate said he suffers from ‘body aches, fever and cough’ video posted on his party’s website, but told his followers that he was given ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as treatment, both controversial drugs that scientists say have no proven benefit against Covid-19.
Macron has announced the widespread application of the health pass amid a vaccination campaign that is losing momentum while the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading rapidly.
So far, it seems that his decision to continue with the tough vaccination strategy has paid off. According to government data compiled by Covidtracker.fr, the number of first doses administered per day has risen to more than 350,000 after stagnating at around 160,000.
France has overtaken the U.S. in the proportion of the population that has been fully vaccinated – 52 percent versus 50 percent in the U.S. and 56 percent in the United Kingdom, according to Our World in Data.
Only 7 percent of people were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in France fully vaccinated between May 31 and July 11, according to data released by the French government this week.