France: Riot police present at Paris health pass protests
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From Monday, the new health pass will be needed to eat in a restaurant or drink in a cafe – both indoors and outdoors. People will also need it on inter-city transport including high-speed trains and domestic flights, but it will not be required on metro systems and suburban transport. This has been championed by Mr Macron, which makes it obligatory to have either both Covid vaccine jabs, be in possession of a negative test or be recently recovered from the virus to enjoy usually routine activities.
President Macron, who faces a crucial year with crunch elections next May, hopes the newly-enforced rules will encourage the population to be vaccinated against Covid in what is hoped will supress the highly-transmissible Delta variant.
The pass has been in place since July 21 and has been needed to venues such as cinemas, theatres and museums.
Its extension was approved France’s Constitutional Council earlier this week.
But the measures to help stop the spread of the virus has sparked fury in France, with thousands of people taking to the streets and arguing the rules encroach on civil liberties.
France news: Thousands of anti-vaccine protestors have taken to the streets (Image: GETTY)
Several protests have been taking place throughout France (Image: GETTY)
In Paris, hundreds of people gathered for a march at Pont de Neuilly metro station on the outskirts, chanting “freedom!” and “no to the health pass”.
One protestor said he had recently recovered from Covid.
He raged: “The problem with the health pass is that our hand is being forced.”
The man added he “really has difficulty believing its use will be temporary”.
There is fury in France over the plans from Emmanuel Macron (Image: GETTY)
Further protests had been planned throughout France, including in Lille and in the northeast and Toulon on the Mediterranean coast.
Last weekend, more than 200,000 people took to the streets in protests, the interior ministry said.
The spokesman for the French Government warned the pass, which will be required until November 15, is needed to avoid further Covid restrictions.
Gabriel Attal said: “It is an additional constraint but a constraint that will allow places to stay open.”
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People protest against the plans in Paris (Image: GETTY)
Protests have been taking place throughout France over the past two weekends (Image: GETTY)
He also added there would be a one week ‘grace period’ for consumers and businesses to adapt to the new rules.
Mr Macron is currently at his holiday residence in the south of France but has been frequently taking to social media platform Tik Tok to urged people to get a Covid vaccine.
In his latest video message on Friday, the French President said: “Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated.
“It’s a question of being a good citizen.
“Our freedom is worth nothing if we infect our friends, neighbours or grandparents.
“To be free is to be responsible.”