Macron's comments on unvaccinated 'undiplomatic' says expert
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A crowd of antivax protesters in the French islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, situated south of Canada’s Newfoundland, assaulted their local MP Stéphane Claireaux on Sunday as he stood in front of his house. Public broadcaster la 1ère reported that 600 demonstrators protested against the vaccine passport, which was brought into effect on Thursday.
Dozens of the protestors decided to go to Mr Claireaux’s home, to carry out what he said “looked like a stoning”. He added: “Everyone knows each other in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, and you have in front of you people you know but whose face is so distorted by hatred you can’t recognize them anymore. It’s surreal.”
“I am obviously going to launch a legal complaint. Some people think the right decisions are not being made. We are all receiving death threats by mail, at some moment this has to stop,” Mr Claireaux told France Info on Monday.
Mr Claireaux did not take part in last Thursday’s vote but is an MP for in Mr Macron’s La République En Marche party.
French Overseas Minister Annick Girardin said: “The attack on Stephane Claireaux outside his own house during a demonstration against the health pass is totally unacceptable. The images are extremely shocking.”
The furious attack on Mr Claireaux came after the French president vowed to “p*** off” the unvaccinated in an interview last Tuesday.
Mr Macron told Le Parisien newspaper: “The unvaccinated, I really want to p*** them off. And so we’re going to continue doing so until the end. That’s the strategy.”
He added that France would not “vaccinate by force”, adding: “So we need to let [the unvaccinated] know: From January 15 you will no longer be able to go to a restaurant, you won’t be able to get a drink or a coffee or go to the theatre or the cinema.”
Opposition politicians were quick to condemn the President’s comments.
“No health emergency justifies such words,” said Bruno Retailleau, Head of the conservative Les Républicains party in the Senate, adding: “We can encourage vaccination without insulting anyone.”
Rival Les Républicains candidate, Valérie Pecresse, told broadcaster CNews that France needed a government “that unites people and calms things down”.
She added: “It’s not up to the President of the Republic to pick out the good and bad French people.”
Presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen tweeted that a leader “shouldn’t say that”, and that Mr Macron was “unworthy of his office”.
While Prime Minister Jean Castex defended Mr Macron’s comments in remarks to the Senate on Wednesday.
“The president’s remarks are perfectly consistent with what we’ve been doing” to tackle Covid and urge vaccinations, he said.
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Since uttering the inflammatory term, Mr Macron has acknowledged that it may have upset some.
A total of 77 percent of the French population are fully vaccinated and boosted (three doses), according to France’s Public Health department.
Health Minister Olivier Véran said last week that only four million adults remain unvaccinated.
What do you make of Mr Macron’s leadership style? Have your say in the comments below.
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