By Aurelien Breeden
More than 100,000 people took to the streets across France over the weekend to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s tough new vaccination strategy, which will restrict access to restaurants, cafes, movie theaters, long-distance trains and more for the unvaccinated.
Demonstrators in Paris and elsewhere vented against what some called Mr. Macron’s “dictatorship” after he announced that a “health pass” — official proof of vaccination, a recent negative test, or recent Covid-19 recovery — would be required for many to attend or enter most public events and venues.
At the same time, however, his policy seemed to have the desired effect: Record numbers of people flocked to vaccination centers in advance of the new rules coming into effect next month.
It made for a striking split-screen image as millions lined up for vaccines — so desperately sought in much of the world suffering outbreaks but with little access to doses — as an increasingly strident group from both the far left and far right decried Mr. Macron’s policies as government overreach.
Some protesters caused particular outrage after drawing parallels between their situation and that of the Jews during the Holocaust. Some wore a yellow star that said “nonvaccinated,” others carried signs or shouted slogans that compared the health pass to a Nazi-era measure.
“This comparison is abhorrent,” said Joseph Szwarc, 94, a Holocaust survivor who was speaking on Sunday as France commemorated the victims of racist or anti-Semitic acts by the Vichy government.
“I wore the star, I know what it is, I still have it in my flesh,” said Mr. Szwarc said at a ceremony in Paris.
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