Demonstrations, sometimes enamelled face-to-face tense with the police, gathered Saturday in France more than 200,000 opponents to the extension of the health pass, a mobilization on the rise, in the middle of summer, in the third week- end of dispute.
In Paris, Marseille or Lyon and in dozens of urban areas, motley processions marched in an often virulent atmosphere.
To the cries of “freedom, freedom” chanted in most of the parades were added mainly slogans hostile to the President of the Republic and to the media.
At 6:00 p.m., the services of the Ministry of the Interior identified 204,090 demonstrators, including around 14,250 in Paris, for 184 actions in total.
Last Saturday, the demonstrations had gathered 161,000 people and 110,000 a week earlier.
Grouped around the hashtags # manif31juillet and #PassDeLaHonte on social networks, opposition to government measures federates anti-health, anti-vaccine or anti-containment protesters, with protean demands.
Four in 10 French people say they support the demonstrations against the health pass, according to a survey published on Friday.
In the main procession in Paris, thousands of demonstrators, who left at 2:00 p.m. from the Villiers metro station (17th century), reached the Place de la Bastille (11th century), where a few hundred people refusing to disperse faced the late afternoon. – midday to the police. The latter responded to the jets of projectiles with tear gas and the use of water cannons.
According to a first report communicated by the Interior, “19 arrests took place, including 10 in Paris”. “3 members of the security forces were injured in Paris”.
– Spitting on journalists –
For Valérie (first name changed), a 45-year-old educator in an addiction center met in the gathering, “the risk of the vaccine” is “higher” than the Covid since she is “young, in good health and does not suffer from comorbidities “.
A second demonstration in Paris, at the call of the former n ° 2 of the FN and president of the Patriots Florian Philippot, meanwhile rallied the Ministry of Health from Montparnasse. Protesters, most of them without masks, marched amid a tide of “blue white red” flags.
At the start of this procession, two AFP image reporter (JRI) journalists were the target of spitting and cursing, leading to the interruption of the video coverage of the rally, ten days after similar threats against journalists from BFMTV.
More than 3,000 police and gendarmes were mobilized to frame the parades, a week after demonstrators invaded the Champs-Elysées, the accesses of which were blocked on Saturday.
In Rennes, the demonstration attracted 2,900 people, an increase in mobilization compared to the previous Saturday (2,200).
“I am Macron’s Jew”, “vaccinate me against fascism and capitalism” or “Media liars! We want the truth”, we read on the signs, in a festive and noisy atmosphere.
In Nantes, the demonstrations gathered “a little less than 4,000 people”, according to the prefecture, in a “very tense” atmosphere, according to an AFP photographer.
In the cities of the South-East, at least 38,000 people have been counted by the authorities, mainly in Toulon (13,000) and Montpellier (10,000).
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal and Minister of Health Olivier Véran were indignant at a video tweeted by Midi Libre showing a pharmacist forced to fold his test tent in the face of insults from demonstrators in Montpellier.
In Marseille, a very heterogeneous crowd gathered, brandishing the communist flag, that of rebellious France (LFI) or the tricolor with cross of Lorraine, in a parade also enamelled with clashes.
– “All cowards” –
“President, deputies, senators, scientists, journalists all cowards”, one could read on one sign, and on another “I am neither a guinea pig nor a QR code”.
In Lille, more than 2,000 people, with varied profiles, including a number of “yellow vests”, marched through the center. 4 people were arrested according to the prefecture.
In Strasbourg, 3,200 people, according to the police, marched in the presence of ex-LREM deputy Martine Wonner.
The demonstrators were more than 1,200 in Lyon, where eight people were arrested. In Bordeaux, 5,500 people mobilized.
The health pass was adopted definitively on Sunday in Parliament.
Already applied in cultural and leisure venues since July 21, its extension to cafes, fairs, exhibitions, restaurants and trains is scheduled for August 9. In the meantime, the Constitutional Council will render its decision on the law on August 5.
New containments are put in place this weekend in Martinique and Reunion, where vaccination coverage is low and the incidence rate is rising sharply. In Reunion, two processions gathered thousands of demonstrators on Saturday.
In metropolitan France, the epidemic is on the rise, particularly in tourist departments.
The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital, and in intensive care, increased on Saturday, according to figures published by Public Health France. Critical care services, which take in the most seriously ill, numbered 1,099 patients against 1,072 the day before, and 878 seven days ago.
bur-lpb-meh-bl / ito / cbn