Oh dear! Macron faces police revolt over new Covid pass rules – ‘Impossible!’

Macron outlines ambition for France to be a ‘framework nation’

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The French President this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in new coronavirus infections, including the mandatory vaccination of health workers and new health pass rules for the wider public.

The health pass consists either of a certificate of full vaccination dating back more than a week, or a negative PCR test dating less than 48 hours, or a certificate of recovery from Covid of more than 15 days and less than six months.

Those violating the obligation to hold the health pass in a place where it is required would face a six-month prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 euros, according to the French executive.

A draft bill was sent to the Council of State for opinion on Tuesday.

In the text, which will have to be amended after readings in Parliament, the outlines of the controls still appear poorly defined.

The text also provides, without it having been announced by Emmanuel Macron, that compulsory isolation for 10 days may be ordered for people who test positive for the virus.

A step that had not been taken since the start of the health crisis.

The French police fear a mission far from the heart of their profession and a lack of staff to carry it out.

“It will be very complicated if not impossible for us,” said Rocco Contento, departmental secretary of SGP Police Unit in Paris.

“If we want to carry out all these missions, we will not have the necessary resources because they are time-consuming missions,” he said this Thursday on BFMTV, estimating that these missions are not “likely to strengthen the police-population bond that everyone wants”.

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On Tuesday, the general secretary of the Alternative Police – CFDT union hinted something similar to BFMTV.

He said: “It is not the role of the police.”

On France Info on Wednesday, Stanislas Gaudon, general delegate of Alliance Police Nationale, criticised “measures that are irrelevant and outside of the scope of the national police”.

“We do not have many police officers available for this mission, which is absolutely not our job,” he said, questioning how to physically verify the authenticity of QR codes.

In addition, the union representative is also annoyed about the possibility of monitoring people isolating at home. He said: “This is not the role of the police.

“The police and the gendarmerie have other things to do.”

“We will be given an additional mission, when we are already struggling to find staff in some cities,” added this Thursday Jean-Christophe Couvy, SGP-Police FO national secretary on CNews.

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Dozens of French police used tear gas to disperse a protest against President Macron’s plan to require a Covid-19 vaccine certificate or negative PCR test to gain entry to bars, restaurants and cinemas from next month.

The police stepped in shortly after scores of protesters marched down a boulevard in central Paris on Wednesday without permission from the Paris authorities. Some wore badges saying “No to the health pass”.

Some critics of Mr Macron’s plan – which will require shopping malls, cafes, bars and restaurants to check the health passes of all patrons from August – accuse the president of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against those who do not want the Covid shot.

President Macron says the vaccine is the best way to put France back on the path to normality and that he is encouraging as many people as possible to get inoculated.

Wednesday’s protest took place on Bastille Day, the anniversary of the 1789 storming of a medieval fortress in Paris which marked the turning point in the French Revolution.

Among other proposals in the government’s draft bill is the mandatory isolation for 10 days of anyone who tests positive, with police making random checks, French media reported.

The prime minister’s office did not respond when asked to confirm the detail.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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