SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 25 January 2022, Tuesday |

Shrill protests in France as Macron targets unvaccinated in explosive language

By using a profanity to characterize his plan for pressing vaccine refusalers to obtain coronavirus vaccines, French President Emmanuel Macron sparked outrage in parliament and objections from electoral competitors.

Macron used the French word “emmerder,” which is derived from the French word for “crap” and means to annoy or bother, in an interview published Tuesday night by the French daily Le Parisien. The president made the incendiary comment as MPs are considering new legislation that would enable only those who have been vaccinated to engage in leisure activities like as dining out.

“I really want to bother the unvaccinated. So we shall continue to do so till the end. That is the approach,” the French president was cited as saying in a sit-down interview at the presidential palace by Le Parisien.

His use of earthy language more often heard behind the counters of French cafés hindered the already tough passage of the government’s proposed new vaccination pass through parliament. Lawmakers discussed until early Wednesday morning before their debate was again halted due to the uproar over Macron’s statements.

Unvaccinated people will be barred from entering restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums, and sports venues. The permit will also be necessary to board inter-regional trains and buses, as well as domestic flights.

As Macron’s health minister, Olivier Veran, attempted to justify the president’s choice of words, opposition legislators objected loudly in the National Assembly chamber.

His use of earthy language more often heard behind the counters of French cafés hindered the already tough passage of the government’s proposed new vaccination pass through parliament. Lawmakers discussed until early Wednesday morning before their debate was again halted due to the uproar over Macron’s statements.

Unvaccinated people will be barred from entering restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums, and sports venues. The permit will also be necessary to board inter-regional trains and buses, as well as domestic flights.

As Macron’s health minister, Olivier Veran, attempted to justify the president’s choice of words, opposition legislators objected loudly in the National Assembly chamber.

Macron’s interview, according to Veran, proved his “intention, above all, to defend the population.”

Critics accused Macron of behaving inappropriately for a president and of focusing on the unvaccinated in order to gain support from the 90 percent of French residents who are fully vaccinated. According to Sébastien Jumel, an opposition politician, Macron “deliberately sought to inject panic to the issue.”

Macron will run for re-election in April.

Marine Le Pen, a far-right presidential contender who rejected the vaccination pass idea, claimed the president wanted to “wage war against a segment of the French.”

Eric Zemmour, another far-right contender, accused Macron of “cruelty.” On the far left, presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon posed the question, “Does the president have control over what he says?”
Macron’s defenders contended that the president just stated what some vaccinated people already believe about non-vaccinated individuals in a society divided on the subject.

On Tuesday, France recorded a record-breaking 271,686 daily virus cases as omicron infections spread across the country, burdening medical workers and threatening to disrupt transportation, schools, and other services.

Macron’s administration is working hard to prevent a second economically devastating shutdown that may jeopardize his reelection hopes. Instead, ministers are attempting to speed the vaccination pass measure through parliament in the belief that it would be sufficient to protect hospitals from becoming overburdened.

More than 20,000 individuals have been hospitalized in France with COVID-19, a figure that has been slowly climbing for weeks but not as drastically as the country’s infection rates.

More than 72 percent of France’s critical care unit ICU beds are occupied by 19 patients, and the country’s once-recognized health-care system is once again under duress. The majority of virus patients in intensive care units are not vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite the fact that 77 percent of the French population has received at least two doses.