Macron this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in new coronavirus infections, including the mandatory vaccination of health workers and new health pass rules for the wider public.
In doing so, he went further than most other European nations have done as the highly contagious Delta variant fans a new wave of cases, and other governments are watching carefully to see how the French public responds. (Graphic on global cases)
The police fired tear gas on several occasions as pockets of protesters overturned garbage cans and set a mechanical digger alight. Some protesters away from the skirmishes wore badges saying “No to the health pass”.
Some critics of Macron’s plan – which will require shopping malls, cafes, bars and restaurants to check the health passes of all patrons from August – accuse the president of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against those who do not want the COVID shot.
“It’s totally arbitrary and wholly undemocratic,” said one protester who identified himself as Jean-Louis.
Macron says the vaccine is the best way to put France back on the path to normalcy and that he is encouraging as many people as possible to get inoculated.