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Mayor: why I am taking action over Macron’s ‘attack’ on unvaccinated

José Mercier, 66, who is not vaccinated himself, claims that because it is legal to be unvaccinated the comments are not fair

Mayor of Bovel, José Mercier has lodged a complaint before the judiciary court of Rennes yesterday following Emmanuel Macron's claim over the unvaccinated Pic: RVillalon / Shutterstock

The mayor of Bovel [a small village in Brittany] has filed a legal complaint against Emmanuel Macron over his comments about wanting ‘to piss off’ unvaccinated people and that  “irresponsible people should no longer be considered citizens.’

José Mercier, 66, who is not vaccinated himself, claims that because it is legal to be unvaccinated the president’s comments, made in a press interview, are not fair.

He lodged a complaint before the judiciary court of Rennes yesterday (January 11). He claims the comments cause damage to his dignity, honour, and image, according to the legal document obtained by The Connexion. 

“Implying I am no longer a citizen is unacceptable. It is a denial of what has guided my life for 28 years,” said Mr Mercier, a former teacher’s tutor who has served as mayor of 600-resident Bovel under six consecutive terms since 1993.

He is currently in self-isolation due to being a Covid contact case.

Mr Macron made the comments in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on January 4 and later said he stood by them despite a backlash from several fronts.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron admits he wants to ‘piss off’ the non-vaccinated

Macron has said many times that it is a civic duty to get vaccinated so as to protect yourself, your loved ones but also vulnerable members of the community.

Similar legal complaints have been made from citizens, as reported by several French media including France Bleu radio and French TV LCI while the government is actively pushing toward vaccination. 

French MPs have passed a bill to convert France’s health pass to a vaccine pass. The bill is now under review by the Senate.

Read more: French senators want vaccine pass only for over 18s after first debate

The Omicron variant is believed to be infecting from 500,000 to a million people every day, according to Minister of Health Olivier Véran.

Mr Mercier said the violence of the political climate reminded him of “The Scapegoat”, a book published in 1982 by French historian and philosopher René Girard analysing persecution texts against the Jews from the XIIIth century.

He said people should not be treated as “scape-goats” over their vaccine status as vaccination is not obligatory.

“I am not vaccinated but I am still within the boundary of the law,” he wrote in the document transmitted to the judge.

He says he does not want his complaint to feed into the anti-vaccine movement nor to create a polemic, saying he had participated in two vaccine campaigns in his village but that the recent comments by the president were unjustified and merited action.

The president is granted legal immunity under French law, meaning he can only be prosecuted after he finishes serving his term. The Rennes court has yet to validate Mr Mercier’s complaint. 

Mr Mercier said he does not wish the president be sentenced but filed a complaint for “future governments to reflect on the limits they have to abide by if they were to preserve social peace,” he said.

“I am pro-choice but it has to come from both sides”, he added.

Related articles

New French Omicron figures show variant makes up suspected 80% cases

Why Emmanuel Macron has often talked about ‘pissing people off’

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