Last summer saw massive protests in France against the COVID-19 vaccine passport mandate to visit places of leisure, with President Emmanuel Macron stressing at the time that avoiding vaccination was a demonstration of “irresponsibility”.
President Emmanuel Macron has used harsh language in pledging a government crackdown on all those who oppose coronavirus vaccination in France.
“The unvaccinated, I really want to p*** them off. And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy”, Macron said in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien late on Tuesday.
He added that he “won’t send (the unvaccinated) to prison” and , “won’t vaccinate by force”.
“So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you won’t be able to go to the restaurant anymore, you won’t be able to down one, won’t be able to have a coffee, go to the theatre, the cinema”, the French president said.
He was referring to the law that comes into force next Saturday and bars unvaccinated people from hospitality venues or trains.
The legislation stipulates that presenting a PCR test [for COVID-19] will now not be enough to get into restaurants, bars, museums, theatres, gyms, and that confirmation of vaccination is needed.
Marine Le Pen, the head of the French party, National Rally, has since reacted to Macron’s remarks by tweeting that “a president shouldn’t say that”. According to her, “Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office”.
The remarks followed the French president in late July admonishing individuals for shunning vaccination, adding: “What is your freedom worth if you tell me that you do not want to get vaccinated? If tomorrow you will infect your father, your mother, or myself, I am the victim of your freedom. It is not freedom, it is called irresponsibility, egoism”.
He spoke after about 161,000 people went out to protest against COVID restrictions across France, which saw activists clashing with police forces in some cities.
In July, Macron announced a series of new restrictions to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. Starting in August, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, airplanes, and long-distance trains started to require a special pass indicating that a person has either been vaccinated or has a recent negative test result for COVID-19. In addition, vaccination was made mandatory for healthcare workers.
To date, there have been 10,053,955 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in France, with 121,619 fatalities, according to the World Health Organisation’s latest estimates.