Emmanuel Macron portrait smashed by protestors in Poitiers
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French anti-lockdown protesters in Poitiers gathered for a demonstration against the new vaccine passport system that was introduced by the French president earlier this month. Around 700 people were in attendance with dozens of them deciding to overrun the government building, which was open for a wedding at the time of the protest. The footage from the scene showed people stamping on Mr Macron’s portrait before they ripped it up and threw it out the window as the crowd outside cheered.
Several people are seen jumping on the portrait and breaking the protective glass before the photo of the French president is ripped up.
In the video, a man is seen holding the framed portrait before he and a number of other people rush towards an open window to hold it outside.
Many people, including the mayor of the western city of Poitiers, have condemned the incident.
Leonor Moncond’huy, the mayor, wrote on Twitter: “I strongly condemn the degradation of the Town Hall of #Poitiers and the assault of a municipal agent on the sidelines of the demonstrations that day.
“Freedom of expression must be exercised with respect for the rule of law and for individuals, and cannot justify any violence.”
Sacha Houlié a politician for Macron’s La Republique En Marche! party from Poitiers added: “Insults, death threats, shameful comparisons, invasions of public places, portraits of the president torn.
“France of Pasteur, the city of Descartes, is ashamed of these individuals who denounce dictatorship while adopting [its] customs.”
France Blue reported that a 52-year-old man received a 15-day suspended prison sentence for destroying the portrait of Emmanuel Macron.
He was also given a probationary period of five years.
The 52-year-old told a Poitiers court that he “regretted” his actions.
He blamed the incident on “the crush, the crowd movement, the hubbub, the complicated year of 2020, the health pass and the threat of no longer being able to go to a restaurant”.
The protest comes after Emmanuel Macron announced in a TV address that coronavirus vaccination passes would be mandatory for bars, cafes and restaurants because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant across France.
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He also said there would be “compulsory vaccinations” for all health workers, who risk fines if they do not comply.
Earlier this week, the French parliament passed the bill to extend the use of the passport.
The news comes after Mr Macron announced new tough COVID-19 measures earlier this month.
France is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the Delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious.
Many experts, including the French Health Minister Olivier Veran, have claimed that “the fourth wave is already here”, with figures suggesting that nine out of 10 newly infected people are unvaccinated in France.
In order to fight the rapid surge in new infections, Mr Macron introduced health passes.
People are required to have these if they want to enter shopping malls, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Anyone who does not have a health pass when they need to will face heavy fines and a prison sentence.
The health passes will be required at entrances to cinemas, museums, libraries and amusement parks that accommodate more than 50 people, but wearing a mask will not be compulsory in those places.
France recorded 27,128 new infections and 32 further deaths on Tuesday.
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