‘Convoy of shame!’ France erupts in chaos as bitter anti-Macron journey begins

Convoy Of Freedom Protest In France

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Numerous convoys blocking roads and causing disruption to the lives of travellers and commuters in France has been led by anti-vaxxers. Protests have rocked France over the issue with many of the protesters suggesting the vaccination programme is a conspiracy theory.

Speaking to LCI, France’s Europe Minister and close ally of Emmanuel Macron, Clement Beaune condemned the protesters, and what they stood for.

He said: “You can be severe, you can be anti-Macron, you can be anti-government, but this is different.

“This is not the convoy of freedom. It is the convoy of shame and selfishness.
“They are not patriots, they are irresponsible.

“Yesterday some of them, I don’t know if there were many, showed their exasperation.

“It is the umpteenth episode of the anti-vaxxers who believe in conspiracy theories, who believe that the vaccine is an international conspiracy.

“This is very serious. I think we should respond with moderation, responsibility, keep encouraging vaccination, and not give excessive attention to a convoy that is exactly the opposite of what they claim to be.

“It is paradoxical to claim to fight for freedom when the project is to block people’s lives.”

Yet, some were highly critical of Mr Macron’s administration for allowing the protests to stretch as far as they have.

Taking to Twitter French MEP Virginie Joron said: “The contempt for the people, the irresponsibility of this government and the insult of the head of state-led to the creation of this freedom convoy.

“Now that they have realised that it will gain in importance, they denigrate this healthy, good-natured and determined movement. Bravo to them!”

Adding to this, the political movement ‘Generation Frexit’ said: “As soon as a movement rises up for freedom or democracy, the pro-Europeans are there to oppose it.”

It ended with the hashtag “Take back control.”

The protests in France are aimed at lifting numerous restrictions put in place by Mr Macron.

Many suggest the move to protest is inspired by the ongoing protests in Canada in which truckers have blocked roads and logistics routes.

The French version of the protest has been witnessed across several cities.

In the southern city of Nice, around 200 motorcycles and private cars headed to Paris and Brussels in support of the cause.

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Many of the protesters are angry about the government health pass, a law essentially shutting out non-vaccinated people from multiple aspects and resources.

Residents of France are obliged to show the health pass, as proof of Covid vaccination, to go to restaurants, movie theatres or ride a train, among other activities.

One participant and coordinator of the event in Nice told Reuters news agency: “Lots of people don’t understand why a vaccine pass is in force in France,

“Our work is to communicate to Europe that putting in place a health pass until 2023 is something the majority of our fellow citizens cannot understand.”

Around six of the convoys have so far been witnesses.

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Reports suggest much like the yellow-vest movement, much of the organisation is being conducted via social media channels.

A Facebook and Telegram channel already boasts around 23,000 followers each according to reports from Agence France Press (AFP).

The demonstrators hope to form a major rally in Paris on Friday evening and Brussels on Monday, but organizers have not provided many details on what it will all entail.

Police sources told AFP they were already planning “security measures” ahead of the convoy’s convergence, to avoid disturbances.

With the first round of Presidential elections about to be held on April 10, Mr Macron cannot afford a repeat of the heavy-handed approach in which yellow-vest protesters were brutally attacked by police and security forces.

On the other hand, it has long been a policy of the French Government to encourage and support vaccination against COVID-19.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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