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New coronavirus plans presented by French president Emmanuel Macron have sparked violent protests in Paris.
Macron announced this week that anyone over the age of 12 would require a vaccine certificate or a negative PCR test in order to gain entry to establishments such as shopping malls, bars, restaurants and cinemas from next month.
The new measures come in a bid to fight a surge in new infections. However, the announcement was met with backlash from residents who believe the measures are too extreme.
Protestors took to the streets of Paris in the wake of the news, with demonstrations also taking place in Nantes, Marseille and Montpellier, Reutersreports. Crowds gathered in the French capital on the morning of Bastille Day, July 14, as the celebratory annual military parade was taking place along the Champs-Élysées.
Angry protestors have set vehicles ablaze, while some police officers attempting to control the crowds have used tear gas to aid their efforts.
In a tweet addressing the police response, the prefecture of police said the declared route was not respected and condemned protestors for the ‘throwing of projectiles’ and lighting of fires.
Protestors have accused Macron of taking away the freedom of French people and discriminating against those who don’t want to get a coronavirus vaccine, with one protestors describing his plans as ‘totally arbitrary and wholly undemocratic’.
Another protestor, Yann Fontaine, claimed the imposition of a health pass equalled ‘segregation’, The Guardian reports.
Macron plays on fears, it’s revolting. I know people who will now get vaccinated just so that they can take their children to the movies, not to protect others from serious forms of COVID.
As well as requiring a vaccine certificate or negative test, Macron has also reportedly proposed all health workers will be obligated to get a vaccine, and that anyone who tests positive for coronavirus must undergo a mandatory 10-day isolation, with the police making random checks to ensure the rules are being followed.
French authorities have estimated that as many as 19,000 people took to the streets in 53 different protests throughout France.
Though the protests make clear that thousands are against Macron’s plans, an Elabe opinion poll published on Tuesday, July 13, found the new safety measures have a large majority of approval among French people, woth around half of the French population having already had a vaccination.
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