They castigated vaccination, “dictatorship” or the health pass: more than 110,000 people demonstrated most often in peace on Saturday across France, from Marseille to Lille and from Montpellier to Paris, AFP offices noted. In total, the Ministry of the Interior identified 136 rallies which involved 114,000 people: 18,000 in Paris divided into several processions and 96,000 in the rest of the country.
“Freedom”, “Macron dictator”… From north to south, the slogans were alike. “It is not that we think the Earth is flat, but we do not know the long-term effects of these hastily cobbled together vaccines that Macron wants to impose on us”, summarizes Rita, a 39-year-old nurse, crossed in the procession in Montpellier where, according to the prefecture, 5,500 people demonstrated.
On the Old Port of Marseille, they were around 4,500, according to the police headquarters, pointing “the sheeps” who get vaccinated and “Bad information” data according to them on TV. According to the prefecture, projectiles were thrown against the police. The demonstrators tried to block the lanes of the A7 motorway. A person was arrested.
Fewer protesters in the West
In Nice, around 1,600 demonstrators, yellow vests, opponents of the health pass, the compulsory vaccine or vaccination in general, walked through the city center.
In the western half, the mobilization seemed a little less. In Bordeaux, the prefecture, which had taken a ban on demonstrating in the city center, counted 1,200 people; the demonstrators blocking the circulation of trams and cars in certain places.
In Toulouse, the prefecture counted 2,500 demonstrators, as in Metz, including a few yellow vests and white coats on the shoulders.
“No to the Nazi pass”
“No to the Nazi pass”, “False pandemic, real dictatorship”, “Pays de Pasteur, no passer-by” or “I am not a QR code”, could we read on the placards of the procession. They were also 2,000 in Rennes, according to local media and 2,500 in Nantes, where some tear gas canisters were fired at the end of the demonstration in front of the prefecture, according to an AFP photographer.
In Lille, between 1,500 and 2,000 people – 900 depending on the northern prefecture – marched among which “Yellow vests” but also the president of the Republican Popular Union (UPR) François Asselineau.
In Strasbourg, the demonstration brought together 2,800 people (prefecture), where a few people wore a yellow star. In Nancy, they were 1,200, 900 in Lyon, according to the prefecture, specifying that 9 people were arrested after clashes with the police.
The “Tyrant Macron”
In the capital, 18,000 people according to the Interior Ministry were divided in at least three rallies. The main procession (more than 10,000 people) started from the Palais-Royal (1st arrondissement) before crossing the Seine to the cries of “Freedom”, “No to the health dictatorship” or “Macron resignation” and to complete its route near the Ministry of Health.
At the head of the parade, where French flags flourished, were the former number 2 of the National Front Florian Philippot, the former LREM deputy covidosceptic Martine Wonner, the singer Francis Lalanne or the former muse. “Yellow vests” Jacline Mouraud. Some leaflets diverting the yellow star with the mention “Health pass” were also visible. During speeches at the end of the course, Francis Lalanne demanded “The dismissal of the tyrant Macron”.
For Fabrice di Vizio, lawyer who wants to be the voice of antivaccines, “Emmanuel Macron solemnly declared war on France”. Florian Philippot followed suit in the same vein: “Yes, we are in dictatorship, we are in tyranny”, and “Yes, it is called apartheid between vaccinated and unvaccinated”.
Before the demonstration, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, president of Debout la France, said that the advent of the health pass in everyday life marked the “Beginning of a gear towards a dictatorship”.
“Wanted French Republic Democracy”
At the same time, a few thousand demonstrated in the streets of the south of the capital, in a disparate procession, preceded by a police cordon. Starting around 2:30 p.m. from the 14th arrondissement, the procession headed for the Jussieu district (5th arrondissement), accompanied by banners such as “Wanted French Democratic Republic, disappeared on July 12, 2021”.
“We are here for the demands of the yellow vests and the restrictions on freedoms”, said the “yellow vest” Jérôme Rodrigues. Finally, a few dozen people took part in another unauthorized gathering on Place de la République.
Demonstrations also took place in Quimper (400 people), Perpignan (1,200), Clermond-Ferrand (1,700), Valence (2,300), Avignon (1,250) or Dijon (700).
Darmanin wants to protect elected officials
On Friday, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin wrote to the prefects to ask them to strengthen the protective measures towards elected officials. “Threat messages against parliamentarians and elected officials are multiplying in the context of anti-vaccine demands”, he wrote, asking them “To mobilize the internal security forces placed under your authority to reassure elected officials, prevent these acts and react quickly in the event of an event”
He recalled that actions “Sometimes violent” took place on “On duty and against parliamentary assistants”. About fifteen anti-vaccine demonstrators thus invaded the office of President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand (LREM) in Châteaulin (Finistère) on Friday, before being put to flight by a gendarmerie patrol.
Richard Ferrand had also announced Thursday to file a complaint, due to death threats received by deputies supporting the vaccine measures and the health pass presented Monday by Emmanuel Macron.