France: Riot police present at Paris health pass protests
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From today, France has extended the scope of its Covid-19 ‘health pass’ which is now compulsory to visit a café, board a plane, or travel on an inter-city train. People must upload proof of being double vaccinated to the French coronavirus smartphone app. Those without the app, or the 20 percent of Brits who do not have a smartphone, could be refused entry to hundreds of hotspots.
The pass is issued to people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have recovered within the last six months.
Those with PCR or antigen with a negative result within the last 48 hours can also obtain the pass.
Fines for customers who refuse to show the ‘health pass’ start at €135 euros, rising to as much as €3,750 (£3,200) or even six months in prison for repeat offences.
The controversial extension of the pass has already sparked protests of more than 200,000 people, but the French Government says it is determined to press ahead and make it a key part of the fight against the virus.
However, just weeks after emerging from another lockdown, French businesses are concerned these rules will cause lasting damage and they are prepared to defy the Government’s demands.
A survey by French trade magazine L’echommerces found that 40 per cent of bar and restaurant owners will simply ignore it.
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07:57 Florian Philippot continues to organise opposition to the 'health pass'
Former member of the European Parliament and vocal opposition to the ‘health pass’, Florian Philippot, has been organising protests online.
He believes the ‘health pass’ is a violation of the liberty that France champions in their national motto ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ – which is French for ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’.
This morning he tweeted: “Everywhere the regime puts apartheid, let’s start this morning with #boycott!
“Segregation, breach of medical confidentiality, denunciation: no thank you!
“Let us privilege and help the places of freedom!
“Unvaccinated and vaccinated hand in hand against horror!
“Flag of France #NoToThePassOfShame”
07:42 Macron urges citizens to remember 'fraternité'
French President Emmanuel Macron has asked citizens to remember the third part of France’s motto, ‘fraternité’ when thinking about the health pass.
“Accept these collective rules… and get vaccinated,” he said.
“It’s about citizenship.
“Freedom only exists if the freedom of everyone is protected… it’s worth nothing if by exercising our freedom we contaminate our brother, neighbour, friend, parents, or someone we have come across at an event.
“Then freedom becomes irresponsibility.”
The controversial rule has caused thousands to take to the streets in protest and hundreds more sign petitions to repeal the rules.
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