Anti-pass convoys approaching Paris, Macron calls for ‘calm’

Les convois anti-pass se rapprochent de Paris, Macron appelle "au calme"

“We are all collectively exhausted by what we have been through for two years. This fatigue is expressed in many ways: disorganization in some, depression in others. We are a lot more in our youth and less youth. He sees strong mental anguish. And sometimes, this fatigue even turns into anger. I hear it and respect it”, underlines the head of state in an interview with Aust-France.

“But, he says, I call for the greatest of peace”.

At dawn, processions of hundreds of private cars, motorhomes and vans left Lille, Strasbourg or Vimy (Pas-de-Calais) or Châteauburg (Ille-et-Villain), heading towards the capital.

Police estimated their numbers at around 3,300 vehicles in the afternoon, including a thousand on the RN20 from Orleans and 500 on the A10-A11 motorway from Le Mans. The movement’s coordinator told AFP it was an action “on an unprecedented scale”.

However, the ban on convoy assembly was upheld on Friday evening by the Paris Administrative Court, which dismissed two appeals.

“It is a betrayal. The foundation of the decree is not respect for the law, of the freedom to demonstrate,” anti-vaccine activist and “yellow vest” Sophie Tissier told AFP. Origin of one of the appeals.

A heterogeneous gathering of opponents of President Emmanuel Macron and the “yellow vest” who protested against his government in 2018–2019, the movement was formed on social networks and encrypted messaging on the model of mobilization that paralyzes the capital . Canadian Ottawa.

Two months before the presidential election, protesters demand the withdrawal of the first vaccination pass and also defend claims on the cost of purchasing power or energy. The government plans to lift the vaccination pass in late March or early April.

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“do not disturb”

Denying any desire to block off the capital, participants are expected to spend the night at its gates and then intensify into queues of processions against Vaccine Pass, held each week on Saturday.

“Apparently, the convoys are slowing down so as not to arrive before dusk, there are targeted shopping center parking lots around Paris,” analyzes a police source.

Robin was launched from a parking lot in Illkirch-Graffenstaden in the suburb of Strasbourg, saying “it is important not to disturb other users, such as in Canada to keep the population on our side”.

“You have to be very firm” in the event of the attempts being blocked, warned the prime minister on France 2, Jean Casteux. “Vaccination is a form of respect for others”.

David, a 51-year-old craftsman who joined the Breton convoy, asks, “Are we serving the government by being seen as laborious? Are we serving as leverage, but enough to really turn things around.” are not.” Like most interlocutors of journalists, he prefers not to give his name.

Some protesters then intend to arrive in Brussels for the “European Convergence” scheduled for 14 February. Belgian authorities have banned entry to the capital.

On Friday, others also spread calls to occupy squares in areas on Saturday.

One of the initiators of the movement under the pseudonym of Remi Monde was launched in a video posted on the social network, “I appeal to all big cities to join.”

If participants appear to be “apolitical” and “apolitical” citizens, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Friday an effort to “instrude to the French’s political” exhaustion” of the two months of the Covid-19 pandemic. warned against. before the presidential election.

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“Stop Interruptions”

The leader of the Patriots Florian Philippot, whose soldiers march every Saturday in Paris against health restrictions, plans to welcome protesters at Place Denfert-Rochero, south of the capital, on Friday evening.

“We are demonstrating in support of the conveyors (…) They are not thugs, they are not wounded, they are working and middle class,” Georges, 35, told AFP. Adviser at Patriots meeting, wishing to remain anonymous.

Due to the “risk of disturbance of public order”, the prefecture plans “specific tools” to prevent “blocking of roads, verbally and arresting offenders”, which could lead to six months in prison and a 7,500 euro fine. Put it. Well said the prefecture.

In Essonne, south of Paris, prefect Eric Jalon has set up a dozen points of “reinforced checks” to remind motorists traveling to Paris to “face restrictions that require them to obstruct or hinder traffic.” exposed in the situation”.

In Paris, the prefect of the police Didier Lalement has created “a certain number of temporary pounds that will allow us to eliminate any blockage with several dozen towing vehicles (…). so that the freedom of movement can be exercised,” he told reporters.

Armored gendarmerie vehicles were deployed in the capital on Friday afternoon, at the height of the “Yellow West” mobilization for the first time since the end of 2018.

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