Several hundred demonstrators gathered on Thursday, August 5 in the early evening, in front of the Council of State in Paris, near the Constitutional Council, in reaction to the latter’s decision to validate the extension of the health pass to cafes. restaurants and some shopping centers, as well as compulsory vaccination for caregivers.
They chanted, in front of the CRS police officers present, the slogans “Freedom, freedom! “ Where “Macron, we don’t want your pass! “, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP). Among them were many “yellow vests”, such Jérôme Rodrigues, figure of the movement, stunned by a grenade fire during a demonstration in 2019.
“All of this undermines fundamental freedoms and the freedom to come and go. Freedom is first and foremost the choice to be vaccinated or not. We are in the process of tipping over into an authoritarian state ”, estimated Marie José Libeiro, a 48-year-old protester. “If you have to present a piece of paper to be free… I don’t think that’s freedom”, she added.
“I’m upset. We have the right to choose what is good for our health: it’s our body! For me, we have entered into a dictatorship. Do not believe that it will stop with the caregivers “, launched a protester, Nathalie, 48, hospital administrative officer.
A hundred demonstrators had waited all day for the decision of the judges before the Constitutional Council, at the Palais-Royal in Paris, and had greeted with hoots the validation of most of the law on the health pass. Then their number grew when a procession joined them before going before the Council of State.
Several calls have already been launched to demonstrate again Saturday across France. Last weekend, the protest against the health pass brought together more than 200,000 people, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior.
Emblematic and controversial measure of the bill aimed at countering the Covid-19 epidemic, the health pass (total vaccination, negative Covid-19 test or certificate of recovery) will be extended, a priori from Monday, to cafes, restaurants, planes, trains and coaches for long journeys, as well as at fairs, seminars and trade shows.
” Lack of courage “
The Constitutional Council also censured the provisions of the text providing that a fixed-term contract or an interim contract can be broken. “Before its term” by the employer for lack of health pass. On the other hand, the institution validated the procedure for suspending the employment contract without remuneration for employees on permanent contracts.
In a press release, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) denounces “Lack of courage” constitutional judges who grant “New disciplinary powers to employers and authorizes[nt] henceforth discrimination on the basis of the state of health of employees ”. “By only censoring the part relating to the early termination of certain employment contracts, more particularly fixed-term contracts and temporary contracts, [ils] deal a new blow to the rights of employees ”, believes the trade union center.
With this suspension procedure without remuneration for employees on permanent contracts, the latter “Will find themselves sine die without income, without social rights and without the possibility of finding a job elsewhere”, continues the CGT, pointing “A completely new and disproportionate sanction”.
The Force Ouvrière union notes for its part that the Constitutional Council “Highlights the public health imperative to globally validate the law establishing compulsory vaccination for certain categories of employees and the health pass”. If the union considers that the protection “The health of the population, employees in particular” now goes through vaccination, he judges the method adopted by the government « contestable ».
A “very disappointing” decision
For his part, Prime Minister Jean Castex welcomed in a press release the decisions of the Constitutional Council. That “Will allow the full deployment of the strategy to fight Covid-19”, according to him. The head of government also declared “Take note” the annulment by the constitutional judges of the provision providing for an obligation of isolation for people who have been the subject of a positive diagnosis.
In a video shot in Brégançon, Emmanuel Macron defended the health pass against those who see it as an attack on their freedom, making a comparison with drink driving. “It was well received when it came to drinking and driving.” In society, freedom is not conjugated with the singular. Our freedom for everyone only exists if we protect others and respect the freedom of others. ”, he insisted. The health pass, “It is responsible freedom”.
The Minister of Health Olivier Véran, for his part, assured that “Nobody will be[it] deprived of care according to the health pass “. “We will never stop treating anyone”, did he declare. The Constitutional Council also validated the obligation of the health pass for visitors and non-urgent patients in health establishments and retirement homes as long as the latter does not “Obstacle to access to care”.
The move sparked a round of criticism from opponents, especially the far right and far left, amid new protests scheduled for Saturday.
On Twitter, the leader of La France insoumise Jean-Luc Mélenchon ruled “Very disappointing” the decision of the Constitutional Council which “Does not protect any of the freedoms threatened by the health pass. Dark humor: a fixed-term contract cannot be interrupted but his salary remains suspended ”. The president of the National Gathering Marine Le Pen also reacted on Twitter, lambasting an institution that “Finds nothing wrong with a law which hinders the freedom of movement of the French, in their own country, on the basis of vaccination”.
Health pass: find the columns published in “Le Monde”
- “Faced with the compulsory health pass, we do not all start equal”, by the geographer Sebastien leroux
- “Red lines must be clearly drawn”, by the professor of law Paul Cassia, the lawyer François Expert, the company president Claude Revel, the lawyer Jean-Baptiste Soufron, the research director at CNRS Patrick Weil
- “The caregivers are afraid of transforming themselves into guardians of a place separated from the world”, by the anesthetist-resuscitator Philippe Bizouarn
- “The health pass does not require vaccination but comes to hamper the individual who would like to avoid it”, by the socio-anthropologist Pascal Ducournau
- “Any policy which reduces freedoms must do so with the greatest measure”, by the philosopher Abdennour Bidar
- “Parliament must respond to the fears of the unvaccinated”, by jurists Dominique Raimbourg and Philippe Quéré