“Macron resignation!”, “We’re here, we’re here! Even if Macron doesn’t want it, we’re here!” For the sixth consecutive week, opponents of the health pass will march, Saturday, August 21, in the streets of major cities in France to chant their attachment to the “freedom” to be able to go to places at risk of contamination without having to justify a vaccination or a recent negative screening for Covid-19. And for the sixth week, slogans born during the movement of “yellow vests” will resonate.
Without necessarily being the majority in the processions, some opponents of the pass took the opportunity to put on their fluorescent waistcoat again, which had been put in the closet since the beginning of the year and the end of the demonstrations against the law. Global security. Profile of participants, organizational methods, relationship to political recovery … Between the movement against the government’s health policy and that of “yellow vests”, the common points are as numerous as the differences.
Contacted by franceinfo, three figures who emerged during the movement of “yellow vests” declare that they are intensely involved in the movement against the health pass. At the head of a Facebook page with more than 157,000 subscribers, Maxime Nicolle known as “Fly Rider” says he took part in demonstrations this summer to show his opposition to a company “where we sort individuals for health reasons”.
Trained in aromatherapy and initiator of a petition forr “a drop in fuel prices at the pump” who had collected nearly 1.3 million signatures at the height of the movement of “yellow vests”, Priscillia Ludosky believes for her part that the executive has not sufficiently explored the trail of “inexpensive and safe protocols for improving immunity, such as vitamin D [dont l’Inserm estime qu’il n’est pas encore établi qu’elle ait un effet protecteur contre le Covid-19]“.
Caregiver in the Rouen region, Ingrid Levavasseur she deplores the lack of “logic” of the solution approved by the government, which allows it “of [s]” crowd in a large area without a sanitary pass, but not to go and visit the zoo with [ses] children “.
None of them is surprised to see many “yellow vests” pounding the pavement against the health pass. “Fly Rider” explains it with an almost ideological continuity: “When we took to the streets at the end of 2018, we were fighting for more social justice, and to say that we wanted to live in dignity. Today, we are demanding to live in freedom to enjoy our rights”, develops this historic “yellow vest”.
Calling for the repeal of the health pass is also an opportunity to hammer home their absolute rejection of the president. “In the health crisis as since the start of the five-year term, Macron has governed his people without listening to them. Today, we have the impression of being treated like children who are being punished. The speech is: ‘You did not understand anything, get vaccinated and period!’ “, annoys Ingrid Levavasseur. Priscillia Ludosky does not say anything else to explain the presence of many “yellow vests” in the processions:
“The president pays the way he conducts his policy: whatever he does and whatever he says, he will be rejected by the ‘yellow vests’ until the end of the five-year term.”Priscillia ludosky
This political dimension is reflected in the polls. “Admittedly, the current problem is particular, but the lowest common denominator of these processions is not the opposition to the sanitary pass: it is first of all an extreme rejection of the policy of Emmanuel Macron”, analysis Jean-Philippe Dubrulle, director of studies in the Opinion and corporate strategies department of Ifop.
In the latest study from his institute, made for Sunday Newspaper, Emmanuel Macron’s voters in the first round of the last presidential election are only 18% to support the movement against the health pass. A figure that climbs to 74% among respondents feeling “yellow vests”. “The anti-health pass movement would not have had this magnitude if the ‘yellow vests’ had not existed, adds Jean-Philippe Dubrulle. It is, to a certain extent, its continuity. Currently, if you are opposed to Emmanuel Macron, the health pass is the only subject for which demonstrations are organized. “
To succeed in bringing down to the streets nearly 240,000 people throughout France in the middle of August, the challenge of the health pass was able to benefit from the online relays created at the time of the “yellow vests”. The groups and Facebook pages on which the various “acts” were organized from the winter of 2018 today relay, for the most part, “anti-pass” initiatives. “I recently learned that a former moderator of my group [de “gilets jaunes”] was in charge of identifying events at the national level to keep a verified and up-to-date list “, notes Maxime Nicolle.
Sign of the intensity of the digital commitment of the “yellow vests” on the subject, the Facebook page “The yellow number”, originally created to identify the troops during the various “acts” of the movement, has resumed service since July 24 to reassess the mobilization count made by the authorities.
“The local ‘yellow vests’ groups are very active. As we have two and a half years of experience, the networking was already done, and people were easily able to get in touch to quickly increase the demonstrations.”Maxime “Fly Rider” Nicolle
“Most of the signatories of the protest statements against the health pass are ‘yellow vests'”, abounds Priscillia Ludosky, who also sees in the multiplication of “actions of civil disobedience” and does it “sometimes to turn away from the official route to go on a wild demonstration” a legacy of the actions of the “yellow vests”.
A “Wild Terrace” is set up on the Place de la République in Paris to protest against the #Health Pass.
Everyone brings back food and drinks and helps themselves to self-service. # Demonstrations14aout pic.twitter.com/cHoazM3iLF
– Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) August 13, 2021
Seeing “yellow vests” investing intensely in this new fight does not surprise Emmanuelle Reungoat. “Much of the movement has run out of steam over time. Those who remained mobilized were often those who both had time to invest and found a new sense of belonging, sometimes using the expression ‘ family'”, details the lecturer in political science at the University of Montpellier (Hérault), who has been conducting an investigation since November 2018 on “yellow vests”.
“Some ‘yellow vests’ have found solidarity in the movement that has changed their lives, and want to continue.”Emmanuelle Reungoat, lecturer in political science
The opposition to the health pass is not, however, a simple extension of the movement of “yellow vests”. “Support for demonstrations is greater than average among certain populations: young people aged 25 to 34, who are just starting out in working life, as well as artisans and shopkeepers. In both cases, these are categories affected by the crisis and instability of health standards “, summarizes Jean-Philippe Dubrulle.
Where the “yellow vests” drew their strength “in peri-urban and rural areas”, according to Emmanuelle Reungoat, the participants in the summer events generally come from cities, where they are regularly confronted with the issues raised by the health pass.
The attitude of the anti-pass movement towards politicians is also radically different. “Created without an established organization, the ‘yellow vests’ movement had to stay away from the parties in order to continue. It was marked by a strong distrust of elected officials, and the ‘vests’ who were inscribed and carried out too much proselytism were dismissed: it was the condition for maintaining its coherence, since it brought together people who were sometimes politically antagonistic “, Emmanuelle Reungoat analysis.
The protest against the health pass is less embarrassed by political recovery. Even if “yellow vests” organize their own non-partisan parade in Paris, the former frontist manager Florian Philippot can deliver speeches every Saturday against the “coronafolie” in front of several thousand people. To the right of the right, François Asselineau and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan also participated in the parades without being pushed towards the exit.
“This time, people follow because there is a sense of urgency: they feel that the health pass prevents them from living normally, and are ready to turn a blind eye to the political figures who are leading the protest because we must stop this project “, judge Priscillia Ludosky. A feeling shared by “Fly Rider”: “The important thing is to go quickly: any lost freedom takes time to be recovered. I am neither on the extreme right nor close to him, but if Philippot is present at a demonstration, I will participate without shake his hand. “
The other major difference between the protest against the health pass and the movement of “yellow vests” lies in the support of the general population. “Four weeks after the start of the ‘yellow vests’, our studies indicated that 68% of the French supported the movement”, observes the director of studies of Ifop. “Today, after the same delay, only 34% of those polled are in favor of anti-pass demonstrations: it is half as much.”
“The reactions are more violent than at the time of the ‘yellow vests’, recognizes Maxime Nicolle. At the time, when the processions were dispersing, some passers-by would give a little weird looks at those who were wearing vests, but that was the end of it. This time, I saw people questioning demonstrators before calling them ‘killers’ or ‘terrorists’! “ A stiffening that Priscillia Ludosky attributes to the health context, but above all political: “All the government talk tends to want to make those who do not want to be vaccinated guilty, this contributes to straining positions.”
Is the movement against the health pass set to become established over time, like that of the “yellow vests” before it? The authorities seem to be considering it. In a note sent to the government on August 19, the Central Territorial Intelligence Service (SCRT) counted on a “relative stability” movement this Saturday, with between 170,000 and 200,000 participants expected throughout France. A figure to be compared with that of the first “act” of “yellow vests”, the high point of the mobilization according to the Ministry of the Interior, which then counted 287,710 demonstrators on November 17, 2018.
“In comparison with the ‘yellow vests’, the dynamic of the anti-pass movement is less strong in popularity, but more important in mobilization: it was so far inconceivable to imagine 200,000 people demonstrating in the middle of August in France “, asks Jean-Philippe Dubrulle. Before concluding : “The start of the school year is traditionally hot socially: this time it could be even more so depending on the evolution of the vaccination policy.”
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