For the fifth consecutive weekend, nearly 200 events will take place across France on Saturday to protest against the extension of the health pass and compulsory vaccination.
This protest movement which brings together beyond the vaccine-skeptical or conspiratorial galaxy continues to grow from week to week.
Last Saturday, in the middle of summer, nearly 237,000 people took to the streets to show their dissatisfaction with the health measures adopted by the government.
On Saturday, the authorities expect "a mobilization of the same order, or even slightly higher", explains a police source.
Yellow vests and far right: two very distinct processions
Three rallies are planned in Paris with, as in previous weeks, a clear division between the two main ones which include most of the demonstrators.
On the one hand, the parade organized at the call of the former number 2 of the National Gathering and now president of the Patriots, Florian Philippot, will start from the Place de la Catalogne around 2:30 p.m.
On the other, a procession declared by "yellow vests" will bring together those who refuse to march alongside the extreme right, with a departure from the Golden Gate around 1:00 pm.
Very followed in the South, the movement brings together large crowds every week in cities like Toulon, Montpellier or Nice, where new demonstrations are expected on Saturday.
Despite this dispute, the health pass has become widespread since Monday in most public places, after the green light given by the Constitutional Council for its extension.
Bars, restaurants, cinemas, museums, hospitals, long-distance transport ... All are required to claim the QR code which testifies to a complete vaccination, a negative test in the last seventy-two hours, or a recovery in the face of illness in the past six months.
In the processions, made up of very diverse citizens, often without political or union affiliation, this device is perceived as an attack on “freedoms” and as a “disguised vaccination obligation”.
Some demonstrators also denounce a "health dictatorship".
Risk of radicalization of the anti-pass movement
An accusation rejected en bloc by Emmanuel Macron, on the front line in the face of the challenge. After trying to convince the youngest directly on social networks, the president explained Wednesday "measure the constraints" related to the introduction of the pass and estimated that there was "no other choice because it was that or the closure of the country ”. The "dramatic situation" in the West Indies, faced with a new deadly peak caused by the Delta variant while vaccination is three times lower than in metropolitan France, offers a "cruel demonstration" of the need for the vaccine, according to the head of the state.
Faced with the challenge of convincing without stigmatizing, the executive also fears a radicalization of the anti-pass movement.
On Wednesday, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin ordered reinforced surveillance around vaccination centers, screening or pharmacies, following a series of malicious acts.
Some processions also include an anti-Semitic fringe, which notably sports a new slogan: “Mais Qui?
Thursday, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran denounced from Martinique the demonstrators who protest "with extremely colorful signs and sometimes extremely dubious reasons, (...) or even completely filthy".
"Society is tired, glowing"
Visiting Carcassonne (Aude), where he was attacked by a vaccine-skeptic passer-by who accused the government of "killing France", Prime Minister Jean Castex acknowledged Wednesday that "society is tired, incandescent" , after a year and a half of fighting the pandemic. The government wants to meet its target of 50 million French people having received a first injection at the end of August. Faced with the protest, he brandishes the card of the silent majority: since mid-July, appointments made in vaccination centers far exceed the number of opponents mobilized in the street every Saturday.
Minority according to the polls, the demonstrators do not disarm and count on the end of the holidays to increase the pressure.
As of Thursday, Florian Philippot called on YouTube for a “great single, national event, next Saturday, September 4,” with “all political forces”.
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