Paris goes back to 1940 style 'show your papers' society.
After video emerged of Parisians having to show their vaccine passport papers to police in order to sit outside a cafe, President Macron asserted that the system protected people’s “freedom.”
The footage showed uniformed French police patrolling cafes and restaurants demanding proof of vaccination. Those unable, or unwilling, to show their papers face massive fines, while business owners could even go to prison if they refuse to enforce the system.
However, the new program may end up putting a lot of people out of business given the multitude of images that showed normally busy cafes and restaurants all but empty. Ignoring the threat of legal action, half of the establishments canvassed by Reuters said they were refusing to enforce the checks.
Despite the fact that the French haven’t experienced such an intense ‘papers please’ society since the Nazi occupation, President Macron insisted that vaccine passports were about protecting people’s “freedom”.
“It’s about citizenship. Freedom only exists if the freedom of everyone is protected,” Macron said, adding, “it’s worth nothing if by exercising our freedom we contaminate our brother, neighbour, friend, parents, or someone we have come across at an event, Then freedom becomes irresponsibility.”
However, Julien Odoul of the right-leaning Rassemblement National slammed the French government, asserting, “The constitutional council has approved a two-tier society where there are two categories of citizens who don’t have the same rights, depending on their vaccine status.”
“This is Macron’s society and one that we condemn and reject. The principles of liberty and equality are sacred,” he added. Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon agreed with Odoul, describing the system as “absurd, unfair and authoritarian.”
Macron's statement is truly Orwellian. To claim that restrictions on civil liberty is to give everyone 'freedom' is straight out of 1984. And the video of storm trooper style police demanding papers of Parisian cafe goers is instantly recognisable as resembling wartime footage from Vichy France. But many couldn't see the problem, with French media applauding Macron's desire to 'keep them safe' and internet trolls happy to promote the dystopian nightmare as a good thing.