TREMBLAY-EN-FRANCE, France, July 22 (Hfrance.fr) - Working since its studio near Paris airport, Jerôme Rodrigues tries to re-energize a Jaune The vests protest movement which, two years ago, challenged the regime of President Emmanuel Macron, then ran out of steam.
Now the public anger over government measures to curb the spread of VOCID -19, which some say is an attack on their freedom, gave new impetus to Rodrigues and his movement.
Last weekend, Police estimated 100,000 people joined in protests against the measures - some of them under the banner of the yellow vests. Another series of demonstrations is planned for this weekend.
An internal report from the Ministry of the Interior, consulted by Hfrance.fr, described protests last week as "exceptional in scale," warned more large protests were likely, and said some officials associated with the government's COVID-19 measures needed to be extra vigilant about their safety .
Rodrigues, one of the most famous figures of the movement who lost an eye when he was hit by a projectile during 'a demonstration two years ago, declinedare that the last demonstrations had attracted people beyond the usual faithful of the yellow vests.
"I saw a lot of demonstrators for the first time times, "said Rodrigues, who wears an ocular prosthesis, in his apartment. "Health workers, restaurateurs too, all kinds of people, children.
"If there is one thing who can unite people today is anger. "
The Macron administration has submitted legislation to parliament that will prevent people from entering restaurants and bars without a "health pass", showing that they are vaccinated, that they have had a recent negative test or that they are immune to COVID- 19. Opponents say the state is de facto forcing people to get stung.
Yellow vests must compete to lead the anti-health pass movement with othersgroups; among them are far-right politicians and civil liberties activists.
Macron's allies say the protests should not mask what they say they are a silent majority who support the measures, and I think they are necessary to get a normal life back.
"Let's keep it in perspective, "said Laetitia Avia, a deputy from Macron's party. "There were around 100,000 people protesting across the country, while millions of people got vaccinated.
Mohamed Boukifa, a 40-year-old baker, joined Rodrigues during a demonstration of yellow vests in Paris on Wednesday against the health pass.
He said he had followed the yellow vests on social networks, but so far had never joinedanointed a protest.
"I'm not here because I'm against the vaccine," he said. "I am here to defend our freedoms. We cannot be forced to get the vaccine. " He said he did not receive the vaccine because he feared possible side effects.
The yellow vest movement started in 2018 as a protest against diesel taxes, then turned into a wave of anger over the cost living conditions and income inequality.
The yellow vests blocked the roads and organized protest marches, often clashing with the police. Billions of euros in tax cuts helped quell the uprising, and after six months it began to run out of steam. Followers continued to protest, but in decreasing numbers.
Demonstrations for the passesfor the most part have been peaceful. But police used tear gas to break up protests in Paris on July 14. Two vaccination centers were the target of arson. French parliament speaker said som Lawmakers supporting the health passport have received death threats.
None of these incidents have been linked yellow vests.
The report from the Ministry of the Interior consulted by Hfrance.fr recommended additional security measures. "The longer the conflict lasts, the greater the risk that the most determined, and the most radical, will step in and take control, " the memo reads. Written by Caroline Pailliez and Christian Lowe ; Edited by Alexandra Hudson
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