175,000 march against health pass in France on sixth protest weekend
Major issues of contention this Saturday included the vaccination of school children, and the announcement that controversial Marseille Professor Raoult is to step down
Around 175,000 people protested against the health pass rules in France this weekend, including 15,000 in Paris - although there were 40,000 fewer people nationwide than the weekend before, police figures show.
It was the sixth consecutive weekend of protests.
As in previous protests, the profile of the attendees appeared relatively diverse. There were three protests called by gilets jaunes; and one organised by Florian Philippot, former member of far-right party le Rassemblement national, and now founder of his own movement, Les Patriotes.
There were also anti-health pass marchers, some calling for ‘vaccine freedom’, and others were anti-vaxx.
Des images de #Marseille ! Pour un week-end de retour de vacances en plein mois d’août la mobilisation reste très forte partout en France.— La DécaLée (@Tracy19M) August 22, 2021
Témoin sur place #NONAUPASSSANITAIRE #nonalavaccinationobligatoire #Manifs21aout pic.twitter.com/ngbtILzgKJ
There were also people marching in their capacity as workers, and retirees; plus families with their children.
One placard called for “a massive strike on people going to bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels, travel agents, sports and cultural events...to bring the Macron health pass, police, and the system, to its knees.”
A major point of contention for protesters this week was the obligation for parents to have their children vaccinated before going back to school.
Many protesters held placards that said that the vaccine “modifies DNA”, could be “poisonous” and cause “genocide to humanity”, while another said: “Don’t touch our children!” and another read: “Children do not belong to the Republic”.
Others called the policy “school harassment”, while one grandmother said: “My grandchildren are most dear to me. I don’t want this to touch them.”
Mr Philippot said: “Mothers of France are standing up and refusing that their children, including infants, be made to bend to the commercial edicts of big pharmaceuticals. You are the flames, the lights that will never go out. We will never capitulate to their lies.”
Lawyer Fabrice Di Vizio spoke at the protest too, saying: “This crisis has no longer got anything to do with health, that’s a pretext. What is in front of us is a crisis of civilisation.”
Protesters hit out against the government, pharmaceutical companies, the ‘oligarchy’, and the EU. They also sought to defend controversial Marseille infectious diseases specialist, Professor Didier Raoult.
This week, l’Assistance publique in Marseille announced that Professor Raoult, age 69, would be taking retirement from his role as professor at l’Institut hospitalo-universitaire in Marseille, which he created in 2011.
Professor Raoult has been a controversial figure, publishing online videos on his analysis of the virus, the impact of the health crisis, and his research on alleged treatments, since the start of the pandemic.
One protester said: “It’s a political decision. They fired him because he is not regurgitating the official line.”
Mr Philippot said that he “applauded people who tell the truth”, and that attacking Professor Raoult was “to attack France”.
There were slightly fewer protesters this week nationwide compared to last; with almost 215,000 marching on Saturday 15.
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