Emmanuel Macron portrait smashed by protestors in Poitiers
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The French President held a virtual meeting with his senior cabinet ministers to discuss the pandemic on Wednesday and announced new lockdown rules in the overseas territory of Guadeloupe. But responding to criticism from opponents to his health pass policy – branded “health dictatorship” – Mr Macron said such a crisis had never “been fought so democratically” before.
He said: “Everyone remembers that when there was no more turnover at all because of the epidemic, it was public money that made it possible to pay those responsible for these places as well as their employees.
“Far from what some trade in this pandemic to gain political market share say, never in our history has a crisis of such magnitude been fought so democratically.
“We made public all the data we had, we made decisions – and this is what is expected of those who preside and govern.
“These decisions then followed a normal democratic path, with nourished parliamentary debates constitutional control as it should be.”
The comments sparked the fury of Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois, who argued the President was taking the French public for “idiots”.
He blasted: “Rarely has a president taken the French for idiots so much.”
Echoing his sentiment, some of his supporters added: “Never in our history has a crisis of this magnitude been fought so democratically.
“However, I have not seen any Referendum.”
Another one added: “Rarely no, never yes.”
And another: “And the sheep will be asking for more in 2022…”
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The French overseas territory of Martinique on Tuesday entered a tougher lockdown for three weeks to tackle the pandemic with the closure of beaches and shops selling non-essential items and restrictions on people’s movements.
Authorities in Martinique have also advised tourists to leave the island.
Mr Macron said the situation in Caribbean islands was “dramatic”.
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According to the independent COVIDTracker website, only 21 percent of the populations of Guadeloupe and Martinique have received a first dose of a vaccine.
That compares with 67.05 percent of all French people having received one vaccine dose and 56.04 percent being fully vaccinated.
Health Minister Olivier Veran on Sunday appealed for volunteer doctors and nurses to travel to the territories to reinforce local health staff.
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal also said there were no signs of new COVID-19 infections receding in France globally.
“The level of virus circulation is high,” he told a news conference.
Mr Attal said France would stop reimbursing COVID-19 tests from mid-October as the country aims to get more people to be vaccinated.
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