“Inspired” by the protest in Canada, thousands from all across France are descending on Paris tonight (Friday February 11) to voice opposition to the country’s COVID-19 vaccine and public health policies. From Lille in the North and Strasbourg in the East; from Nice, Bayonne and Perpignan in the South, organizers are claiming their goal is to peacefully voice opposition to infringement on their “freedom” and “fundamental rights.” There’s talk of heading to Brussels for a “European convergence” on Monday.
But measures have been put in place to “prevent the blocking of roads, issue fines and arrest those who break this ban,” said police headquarters in a statement. The ban will last over the weekend, from Friday until Monday. Over 7,200 police officers and armored vehicles have been deployed and anti-riot barricades erected on the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere.
The Paris police issued a reminder that obstructing traffic can be punished by a two-year prison sentence, a €4,500 fine, and other measures enabling vehicles to be impounded and driving licences suspended for up to 3 years.
“The organizer of a banned demonstration can be punished by six months’ imprisonment and a fine of €7,500,” the préfecture said, adding that those taking part could receive a fine of €135.
Here’s the logo of the Police Prefecture. Funny that it has the slogan “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” written on it.
What isn’t clear, then, is what the vehicles will do once arrived in the nation’s capital. There won’t be large trucks like in Canada. I just watched the 8 pm news and they seem to be playing it down. Only a few minutes were dedicated to the “Freedom Convoy” (le convoi de la liberté) before moving on to the Russian standoff in Ukraine, the number one focus of attention right now here in Europe.
Thanks for the update. Troubling times.
On the eve of a possible ground war in continental Europe, I find these protesters a bit misguided. If they wish to be on the streets of Paris, may I suggest a very long moment of silence to honor a *real freedom fighter* – Marie-Claire Chevalier, who died last month. Read it carefully. Here’s a link to the New York Times obituary:
Hi, CB. In fact, the two real heros in this story are Gisèle Halimi and Simone Veil. Madame Halimi was born to a Jewish mother in Tunisia, Madame Veil born into a Jewish family in Nice. I’ve read both of their biographies. It was Simone Veil who, against all odds, aggressively pushed for the legalization of abortion in France. Here’s a tribute I wrote about her upon her death: