Emmanuel Macron portrait smashed by protestors in Poitiers
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The French President introduced a new law in July that requires people to be in possession of a “health pass” in order to eat out at restaurants, drink at bars, travel on trains and planes and attend cultural venues and sporting events. Additionally the law mandates health care workers to get a Covid vaccine by September 15th or risk being suspended from work. Both measures sparked political outrage across the country and have resulted in weekly street protests involving thousands of people.
The demonstrators have often been characterised as “anti-vaxxer” cranks, whose actions pose a threat to the wider public health by both the government and sections of the media.
However, Fabrice Grimal denied that those taking to the streets were against Covid vaccines and claimed they were simply exercising their democratic right to protect their civil liberties.
The activist, who has announced his intention to run against Macron in next year’s elections, told Express.co.uk: “Everywhere in the country, you can find people of all ages and conditions, Yellow Vests and primo-demonstrators, health care professionals and policemen off duty, literally everyone.
“Even my own mother, who never before attended any protest in her whole life!”
He added: “Our government and news channels minimise the attendance, despite photos and videos of huge crowds all around the country.
“They call us anti-science, anti-vaccine, while we are just anti-pass.”
Macron hit out at protesters during a visit to Tahiti last month, calling them “irresponsible” and “selfish”.
He told reporters: “A society only holds together when the freedom of each people is respectful of the other and therefore it is based on rights and duties.”
The health pass shows that people are fully vaccinated, have had a recent negative test or proof of a recent COVID-19 recovery.
Mr Grimal claimed that the new law had created deep divisions within French society.
“So our country is literally split in two,” he said.
“People in families tell each other off, perhaps worse than during the Dreyfus case.”
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The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided the country from 1894 until 1906 and became a by-word for modern injustice in the Francophone world.
Last Saturday was the sixth straight weekend that protesters across France took to the streets.
In Paris, four demonstrations were organised by different groups and over 200 protests were taking place elsewhere in French cities and towns.
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