Paris: Yellow Vest protesters march against Macron's policies
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Hundreds of Yellow Vests protesters took to the streets of the capital to express their outrage at the French President’s handling of the crisis. The French leader, who is under pressure to accelerate a vaccine rollout in France that is badly lagging behind Britain’s, was accused of threatening people with more restrictions as infections continue to rise.
Nejeh, a protester and organiser, told Ruptly: “We are only asking for solutions, but they do not give us solutions, they put us in front of accomplished facts.
“They close hospitals. There are removing beds in hospitals and then they say that there are no more places to treat people. They are going to tell us to stay at home.
“We can no longer accept it.”
Valerie, another Yellow Vest protester, said: “I believe we have 800 political prisoners, 800 ‘Yellow Vest’ activists in prison.
“I think there have been three dozen accidents in which protesters lost their hands or their eyes.
“So for all those people, we keep fighting, for the freedom of the press, to see official media tell the truth.
“We thank the alternative media who follow us and we would like France to remain a free country.”
Mr Macron faced a huge backlash over the rollout of jabs throughout the country, lagging significantly behind other nations.
In France, less than 3 million people have been injected with the first dose of the vaccine, whilst almost 20 million have received the first jab in the UK.
The French President had also caused dismay in Britain after being quoted earlier this year as saying the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine appeared “quasi-ineffective” among those aged over 65.
Last week, Mr Macron was forced to make an embarrassing U-turn as he said he would gladly accept being inoculated with the Oxford jab if it were offered when his turn comes.
He said: “In view of the latest scientific studies, the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been proven.
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“My turn will come, but I’ve got time. If that’s the vaccine that’s offered to me, I will take it, of course.”
He also said AstraZeneca had failed to meet its delivery targets and that EU leaders were putting pressure on the Anglo-Swedish company.
He said: “We told them, you’re not being serious about the commitments you made, because you haven’t met them.
“We’re putting pressure on them so they make up the ground lost and so that a precise timetable is met.”
Last month, vaccine maker AstraZeneca cut its planned deliveries to the EU in the first quarter of the year to the bloc to 31 million, and later lifted it to 40 million after intense pressure from Brussels.
EU officials had initially been told by the drugmaker that only 80 million doses would be available by the end of March, an EU document seen by Reuters revealed.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was forced to apologise for the vaccine failures in the EU.
She told the European Parliament: “We were late to authorise.
“We were too optimistic when it came to massive production, and perhaps too confident that what we ordered would actually be delivered on time.”
But she said a joint response was still the best course of action.
She said: “I can’t even imagine if a few big players had rushed to it and the others went empty-handed.
“In economic terms, it would have been nonsense and it would have been I think the end of our community.”
The European Commission President had said a country could act like “a speedboat” with its vaccine rollout, while the “EU is more like a tanker”.
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