Covid: President Macron warns he will ‘hassle’ France’s unvaccinated

President Macron warns he will 'hassle' France's unvaccinated
Mr Macron says he wants to limit "as much as possible" access to activities for the unvaccinated. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: French President Emmanuel Macron has warned he intends to make life difficult for people in France who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

“I really want to hassle them, and we will continue to do this – to the end,” he told France’s Le Parisien newspaper.

But political opponents said the strong language he used in the interview was not worthy of a president.

His comments came as a bill on Covid passes was delayed by opposition MPs uniting against the government.

A debate in parliament on the bill, which would bar the unvaccinated from much of public life, was prevented from continuing after midnight.

The legislation was expected to be approved in a vote this week, but it has angered vaccine opponents and several French MPs have said they have received death threats over the issue.

In his interview with Le Parisien on Tuesday, Mr Macron said that while he would not “vaccinate by force”, he hoped to encourage people to get jabbed by “limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life”.

“I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison,” he said. “So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”

The language Mr Macron used about hassling or annoying the unvaccinated is considered to be slang and prompted a strong reaction from opposition politicians.

“No health emergency justifies such words,” said Bruno Retailleau, Senate leader of the right-wing Republicans, quoted by AFP.

“Emmanuel Macron says he has learned to love the French, but it seems he especially likes to despise them.”

Far-right leader Marine le Pen tweeted: “A president shouldn’t say that… Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”

Meanwhile leftist politician Jean-Luc Melenchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession”.

“It is clear, the vaccination pass is a collective punishment against individual freedom,” he added.

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