between appeasement and denigration, the executive seeks the right tone

Show understanding, for the sake of appeasement, or denigrate them, to better marginalize them? Emmanuel Macron’s followers are looking for the right tone in the face of “freedom convoys”, these gatherings of vehicles from all over the country to denounce health restrictions, which plan to rally Paris from Friday February 11, in the hope of blocking the capital this weekend. Officially, the executive says “don’t be afraid” this citizen action, inspired by the Canadian truckers who have been blocking the center of the capital Ottawa for almost two weeks.

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But two years after the start of the epidemic and two months before the presidential election, the “vigilance” remains in place in the face of this protean movement, which brings together opponents of the vaccination pass as well as “yellow vests”, or French people wishing to express their distress in the face of the drop in their purchasing power, against a backdrop of soaring prices for energy. A patchwork of anger, complicated to grasp. And against which the head of state does not know how to position himself. “There are sincere people with whom we must continue to discuss. On the other hand, those who live in parallel worlds, the conspiratorial movements, it’s no , explains a close friend of Mr. Macron. Hence the executive’s double talk.

On Wednesday February 9, the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, above all tried to show leniency, acknowledging the “weariness” of the French against “measures which continue to apply” in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The government is “lucid” and perfectly conscious that many citizens “are tired of living with this virus”, he said at the end of the Council of Ministers. If he lamented that “as everywhere in the world, political movements, often radical, have sought to capitalize on this weariness”Mr. Attal also endeavored to counter the slogans denouncing a supposed health dictatorship. “France is probably one of the countries in Europe that has taken the fewest restrictive measures, which hinder the freedom of its fellow citizens”he assured, referring to the lifting of the vaccination pass envisaged for the end of March or the beginning of April.

Read also: The timetable for lifting the restrictions revealed

firmness line

In addition, a second stage of lifting restrictions remains scheduled for February 16, and a new reduction in the health protocol for schools is being prepared for February 21. This makes the French situation difficult to compare with Canada, according to the spokesperson for La République en Marche (LRM), Roland Lescure. “The constraints are much stronger there than at home. And in France, we are in a phase of lifting restrictions ”observe the deputy of the French of North America.

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