Shrill Protests in France as Macron Targets Unvaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech during a press conference on France assuming the EU presidency, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 in Paris. (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP, File)

French President Emmanuel Macron has provoked outcries in Parliament and protests from election rivals in describing his strategy for pressuring vaccine refusers to get coronavirus jabs.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to bug them. And so we will continue doing so, to the end. That’s the strategy,” Le Parisien quoted the French leader as saying in a sit-down interview at the presidential Elysee Palace with a panel of its readers.

The vaccine pass will exclude unvaccinated individuals from places such as restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and sports arenas. The pass will also be required on inter-regional trains and buses, and on domestic flights. Opposition lawmakers protested audibly in the National Assembly chamber.

Critics accused Macron of targeting the unvaccinated to win support from the 90% of French adults who are fully vaccinated. Opposition lawmaker Sébastien Jumel said Macron “deliberately chose to add hysteria to the debate.”

Macron is facing re-election in April.

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who opposed the vaccine pass proposal, said the President wants “to wage war against a portion of the French.”