More than 100,000 people in France on Saturday protested against the government’s latest measures to encourage people to get vaccinated and reduce the number of coronavirus infections caused by the Delta variant.
Separate far-right and far-left protest marches weaved their way through Paris’s many neighborhoods. Demonstrations were also organized in Strasbourg, Lille, Montpellier, and other cities throughout France.
Thousands of people responded to Florian Philippot’s call to take to the streets, a fringe far-right politician and former right hand of Marine Le Pen who stated earlier this month that he would run for president in 2022. Protesters gathered near the Louvre Museum, chanting “Macron, clear off!” and “Freedom,” banging metal spoons on saucepans.
While Philippot has organized small but regular protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, Saturday’s rally drew a larger and more diverse crowd of people dissatisfied with politics, including yellow vest activists angry over perceived economic injustice, far-right supporters, medical staff, and royalists.
They denounced the government’s decision on Monday to make vaccines compulsory for all health care workers, and to require a “health pass” proving people are fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative or recovered from the virus in order to access restaurants and other public venues. President Emmanuel Macron’s government is presenting a draft law Monday to enshrine the measures.
While France already mandates various vaccinations to join public school, many say if the coronavirus vaccine becomes required, they will withdraw their children from school.