France: Police use tear gas as teachers and students rally
The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced the easing of so-called Plan-B restrictions to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For France, the tough restrictions continue as President Emmanuel Macron maintains the conditions as reports emerge that COVID figures in Europe are still on the rise. Taking to Twitter to vent their frustration, two French political figures aligned to “Les Patriotes”, a group that supports Frexit and supports “what is best for France”, the air of discontent at Mr Macron and the French state are rife.
Joffrey Bollée, from the “Gaullist” group said: “In reality, it is already possible to live almost normally without being vaccinated.”
He added: “Yes, it is! The United Kingdom (and even more so England) has never given in to the delusions unworthy of a Democracy as we know here.”
He ended: “A diverse press, a proud Parliament, that changes everything,” pouring on the praise for the UK Governmental establishment.
Adding to the commendation of the British fight against the pandemic was a Presidential candidate from the same group.
French political figures have labelled Boris Johnson as “The Anti-Macron”
Florian Philippot and Joffrey Bollee praised the UK and Boris Johnson
Florian Philippot said: “In the United Kingdom, they have compared the schools with and without a mask, and the Minister of Education concluded that “the effectiveness of the mask in the school is not proven!
“So they will soon withdraw it!
“In France, let’s free the children too!”
Adding to the news of the Prime Minister announcing the end of the Plan B restrictions, Mr Philippot took the acclaim one step further.
He said: “The end of little Covid restrictions in England!
“Bravo to Boris Johnson… The Anti-Macron!”
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French teachers have protested the confusing and ever-changing COVID rules in France
French protesters fire back at Macron
The French have been most vocal about the vaccination programme being considered for children.
Numerous protests have taken place across France over the idea.
Last week, French authorities say more than 105,000 people have taken part in protests across the country against the introduction of a new coronavirus pass.
Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.
Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.
The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative COVID-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.
Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.
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Children are also being vaccinated in France
Among other things, the protesters object to child vaccination.
While schools in the UK appear to be performing well with the challenging conditions caused by the virus, the same cannot be said of France.
Teachers across France staged a widespread one-day walkout on Thursday last week to protest changing COVID-19 rules that they say have disrupted schools and are now too lax to protect against the Omicron variant that is tearing across the nation.
Tens of thousands of teachers and school personnel, sometimes joined by students’ parents, participated in marches in cities across the country, in what appeared to be one of France’s biggest school protests in decades.
The education ministry said nearly 40 percent of primary school teachers and nearly a quarter of secondary school teachers were on strike, although school unions put those figures much higher, at 75 percent and 60 percent.
A leading union said it expected about half of all elementary schools, or about 20,000 schools, to be closed.
“It’s all this exasperation and anger that has built up to today,” said Sophie Vénétitay, a teacher and an official of the leading union in secondary schools.
The French piled on the praise for the British handling of the pandemic
The walkout, which most of the country’s teaching unions supported, posed a serious challenge for Mr Macron’s government, which has taken pride in keeping its schools open longer than many other European countries during the pandemic.
The school policy is part of a social contract that Mr Macron has bet will allow France to live with the virus, keeping pandemic restrictions limited in return for a high vaccination rate.
To spare whole classes from being sent home or entire schools from having to shut down, the government set up complex testing rules that confused millions of parents and teachers.
It then changed the rules twice in a matter of days.
The testing protocols led to snaking lines of exasperated parents and children standing in the cold outside pharmacies and medical laboratories.
France is now averaging nearly 300,000 newly reported coronavirus cases a day, almost six times as many as a month ago and far more than at any earlier point in the pandemic.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega