Paris — France mobilized thousands of police, armored personnel carriers and water cannon trucks in Paris on Friday to shut out a fleet of drivers gathering in the capital to protest the COVID-19 restrictions.
Checkpoints were set up at toll points on major entrance roads, and riot control barriers were set up in the city center prior to rallies aimed at by protesters over the weekend.
Inspired by the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration in Canada, drivers from many cities across France are expected to gather outside Paris and seek to disobey police orders to keep them out of the city. I did.
“We’ve been in a circle for three years,” says pensioner Jean-Marie Azais, who is part of the “Convoie de Liberte” heading southwest to the capital in connection with France’s anti-COVID-19 strategy. I did.
“We saw Canadians and told ourselves,’What they are doing is wonderful.’ In eight days, a boom, something sparked. “
As the evening rush hour began, police began checking driver documents at various entrances to the city center. Over 7,000 officers will be mobilized in the next 72 hours.
Members of the convoy exchanged information on the best way to slip into the city via social media and avoided the presence of police, including lift-up equipment to dismantle makeshift obstacles.
“We have always defended our right to protest … but we need harmony and a lot of collective goodwill,” President Emmanuel Macron told the newspaper Ouest France, seeking calm. ..
His prime minister, Jean Castex, was more straightforward. Citizens had the right to protest, but he said he couldn’t congest the capital.
Canadian demonstrations united truck drivers who were angry at the obligation of vaccines for cross-border traffic.
But in France, it is the general public who are angry with the rules of COVID-19. Protests show signs of uniting the heterogeneous opponents of President Emmanuel Macron two months before the election, when President Emmanuel Macron is expected to stand again.
The frustration of the French public over COVID-19 restrictions, including the widely enforced vaccine path, has already triggered a wave of demonstrations, which is widespread.
In Toulouse, a woman cheering for the driver said protesters should go against police orders to stay outside the boundaries of the city of Paris.
“Authorities can’t block everyone,” she said withholding her name. “The convoys have to force it, they still have to try to enter.”
Some of the crowds who shook off vans, campers and car escorts in Vimy, northern France, are now wearing the highly visible yellow vests that characterize the popular pre-pandemic protests of 2018 and 2019. did.
Households are once again feeling budget pressure as rising energy prices and a strong economic recovery are pushing up inflation, and public dissatisfaction is boiling.