Anti-health pass activists demonstrated on Saturday July 31. Parades took place in Paris but also in the provinces.
According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, 204,090 demonstrators including about 14,250 in Paris marched through France against the health pass. In total, 184 actions were identified.
The aim of the movement is to protest against the latest health measures imposed by the government. The extension of the health pass and compulsory vaccination for many professionals are the main demands. After 3 weeks, the mobilization does not weaken.
In the capital, no less than 4 demonstrations were declared. However, police feared undeclared protests that could lead to clashes. This is why the prefect had planned the deployment of 3,000 police officers in Paris. The Champs Elysées were under close surveillance after the incidents of July 24.
A procession left from Place du Palais Royal (75001) towards Place Pierre Laroque (75007). A second went from Place Joachim du Bella (75001) to Place du Palais Royal. (75001). The longest event started from Villiers (75017) towards Place de la Bastille (75011). Among the participants were “Yellow Vests” including Jérôme Rodriguez.
Florian Philippot’s call
Florian Philippot, founder of the “Les Patriotes” movement, called for demonstrations between Montparnasse (75014) and Place Fontenoy (75007), towards the Ministry of Health.
The 2022 presidential candidate wants to lead a movement “for freedom, against tyranny”. This positioning comes as the Constitutional Council examines the law to extend the health pass. It also coincides with the entry into force of health measures on July 21. “The Constitutional Council has an interest in censoring #LoideLahonte on 08/05 because we have planned something huge on Saturday, a phenomenal coup,” he tweeted.
In previous gatherings, we have seen politicians including Nicolas Dupont-Aignan or François Ruffin. Véronique Genest, Francis Lalanne or Jean-Marie Bigard were also present. In addition, the demonstrators have several tendencies. We find people vaccinated who do not accept the health pass but also people against vaccination. Week after week there has been an increase in the number of participants. Last week, they were 161,000 including 11,000 in Paris, according to Beauvau.
This gathering brought together a very large number of people, mixing “Yellow Vests” with pro and anti vaccines as well as vaccinated people.
Leaving the “Villiers” metro at 2pm, the procession headed for the Bastille, via Place de Clichy, rue de Châteaudun, République by bd Magenta and bd Beaumarchais. On the signs, we could read “No to dictatorship” !, “Freedom”, “Sanitary terror”, “Yes to vaccine freedom, No to sanitary pass” or “Neither Pro, nor Anti vaccine, Just have the choice “. You could see tricolor flags in the crowd and the Marseillaise sounded along the parade.
Tensions with the police erupted around the Moulin Rouge around 3pm. This worsened around the Republic where the police used tear gas in front of some demonstrators who threw projectiles and firecrackers. Finally, the police used water cannons at the arrival of the demonstration at Place de la Bastille, in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The firefighters had to intervene for trash fires during the parade. Around 7 p.m., the last demonstrators left the square. In total, the police arrested 72 people among whom there are 25 in police custody including 2 minors. They are heard for violence against persons holding public authority, participation in a group with a view to committing violence or degradation, insult, rebellion and possession of explosive devices. The police have 3 wounded police officers.
Rally at the call of Florian Philippot
This demonstration was the other big parade against the health pass. the procession left at 2:30 p.m. from the Place du 18 Juin, Montparnasse district, to join the Place Fontenoy. The extension of the health pass and the vaccination obligation were also at the center of the demands. The education minister’s announcement about the “eviction of unvaccinated children” sparked anger and increased mobilization. Opponents reject this school apartheid. For its part, the FFF announced that the health pass will be required to be able to play football and access the changing rooms and stands before each training or each competitive match. This measure also applies to other sports federations.
In the crowd, the majority of participants were unmasked. You could see a multitude of tricolor flags. On the signs we could read: “No to the sanitary passport”, “Freedom”, “Go your way #PassDeLaHonte” …. In addition, we could read and hear slogans hostile to the President of the Republic and to the media.
From start to finish, the president of the “Patriots” stood behind a banner reading “Vaccinated or not, All united.” His supporters sang the Marseillaise. words including that of Florian Philippot. The demonstration took place in peace despite an attack by AFP journalists at the start. However, they had been able to carry out interviews before the departure. Following the insults and actions preventing them to film, AFP has decided to suspend its coverage in images.
Events in the provinces
Many gatherings in the provinces including Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and other large cities. All marched chanting “Freedom” but also slogans against the President of the Republic and the media.
- Aix-en-Provence: 2,200 people.
- Avignon: 3,000 people.
- Bordeaux: 5,500 people against “dictatorship” and “vaccine exclusion”.
- Belfort: Nearly 2,000 people to the sound of the drums. In the crowd, we could hear “Liberty” or “Macron resignation!” Protesters threw eggs on the facade of France Bleu Belfort-Montbéliard and tried to enter the offices of the newspaper l’Est Républicain.
- Caen: 5,000 people.
- Lille: More than 2,000 people including “Yellow Vests. 4 people arrested.
- Lyon: More than 1,200 people and 8 arrests. Clashes following an unauthorized demonstration on Place Bellecour.
- Marseille: Nearly 5,000 people from various quarters. You could see the communist flag, that of LFI or the tricolor marked with a cross of Lorraine. The signs read: “All cowards”, “President, deputies, senators, scientists, journalists all cowards” or “I am neither a guinea pig nor a QR code”.
- Metz: 3,000 people.
- Montpellier: 8,500 people chanting: “We’re here, we’re here and if Macron doesn’t want us we’re here!” A pharmacist had to fold up his test tent in the face of insults from demonstrators.
- Nantes: nearly 4,000 people in a “very tense” atmosphere.
- Nice: 6,500 people along the Promenade des Anglais.
- Pau: 4,000 people.
- Perpignan: Between 3,000 and 4,000 people.
- Quimper: 1,800 people, less than last week.
- Rennes: 2,900 people, mobilization up compared to July 24. Explicit signs: “I am Macron’s Jew”, “vaccinate me against fascism and capitalism” or “Liar media! We want the truth” in a festive atmosphere.
- Strasbourg: 3,200 people. Presence of ex-LREM deputy Martine Wonner.
- Toulon: one of the largest gatherings in France, smoothly. * A mobilization almost as strong as in the capital with 13,000 people.
- Other gatherings took place across France.
In Montpellier, the mayor of the city, Michaël Delafosse finds “inadmissible and shocking”, the insults addressed to the pharmacist who had to withdraw his screening tent. He was joined by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin thanked the “police and gendarmes mobilized across France to supervise the demonstrations”. He assured “full support to the 3 wounded police officers and to all the police officers and gendarmes who were taken to task”.
For her part, Marine Le Pen, president of the Rassemblement National (RN) spoke on social networks: “The government must hear the legitimate concerns expressed both on efficiency and on attacks on freedom and equality generated by #PassSanitaire. There is still time to go back “.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon wrote on Twitter: “The marches of this Saturday must be understood and respected. The #PassSanitaire is a false good idea. A generalized control absurd, incoherent and dangerous by the illusion of protection that it spreads”.
It is not only in France that the “anti-pass” are demonstrating. Italy and Australia are also experiencing demonstrations against the health pass.
Thousands of demonstrators across the country protest against the adoption of a mandatory health pass to access places closed from August 6. On the signs we could read:
- “Freedom!”, “No to dictatorship” (Naples).
- “Better to die free than to live like a slave” (in front of the cathedral of Milan).
- The words “Vaccines set you free” accompanied a photo of the portal of the Auschwitz extermination camp with the inscription “Arbeit macht frei” (Rome). Florian Philippot had gone to Rome to demonstrate to the Italians. He was provided with a health pass.
- The demonstrators wore yellow stars inscribed “not vaccinated” (in Genoa).
- In Sydney, clashes took place between mounted police and demonstrators. The townspeople have been ordered to stay in their homes for a month.
- In Melbourne, thousands of people took to the streets after rallying outside the Victoria State Parliament. The signs read “Wake up Australia”.