The first time I saw a small group of protesters gathering downtown I dismissed them as crazy anti-vaxxers.

I get it, some people are scared of needles, some people think vaccines were developed so quickly they can’t be trusted, some people think have the strongest immune system ever, some people just delay getting vaccinated for a million of reasons. Fortunately, most of these vaccine-hesitant folks are smart enough to eventually roll up their sleeves.

But these protesters looked like the real crazy kind—you know who I’m talking about, people who claim vaccines are made in China with children tears and permanently alter your DNA. Recently, a perfect stranger explained to me that she wasn’t getting vaccinated because “it would make her magnetic.”

“This is an awesome side effect,” I replied. “I clean up my kid’s magnetic building sticks in no time at the end of the day.”

I mean, you can’t argue with crazy.

The second protest the following Saturday was bigger.

I grabbed my camera and followed the third one last Saturday—I didn’t join it, I just wanted to see who was protesting and why exactly.

It was one of these weird protests where you could spot both far-left anarchists and far-right zealots, “Paul Dupont” and “Marie Dupont”—i.e. your average French citizen—and their children, twentysomethings and seventysomethings, Black Blocks and firefighters.

Some were clearly crazy anti-vaxxers but many were protesting against the new “health pass.” Since August 9, the health pass (i.e. proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test) is mandatory for access to all events or leisure and cultural venues (cinemas, museums, concert halls, festivals, stadiums, amusement parks), cafés, bars and restaurants, some shopping malls, airplanes, trains and long-distance buses.

Beyond minor practical issues, this is one of the COVID measures that actually makes sense to me. Vaccines are available in France and clearly COVID isn’t just going away. I’d rather show my proof of vaccination several times a day than go back to lockdowns, curfew, etc.

Yet, at the same time, I can’t help wondering how far we’re prepared to go (again) with COVID. I take the pandemic seriously, yet there are a number of restrictions I found questionable over the past few months. Several countries are pressing ahead with booster shots already—not for my age group, obviously, but if I’m told I need a fifth dose for the ninth wave at one point, I may be joining a protest as well.

Get vaccinated if you can, people. I really don’t want to find out what else we need to do to coexist with a potentially deadly virus.

Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
Health pass protest, Nantes, August 7, 2021
 

Get the latest story, cultural shock and travel pictures right in your inbox

I don't spam, promise.

I literally don't have the time to write ten stories a day.

Visited 3 times, 1 visit(s) today
Liked it? Share it!

7 Comments

  1. Kiky August 12, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Oh wow! Proof of vaccination is also applied here in Jakarta.
    Some are oke some also against it. But in my country case, only around 10% of Total population are vaccinated. Supplies are still rare in many regions especially outside Java, the main island (where the capital city is)
    There are also anti vaxx community with their non-sense opinion. But unfortunately, some people
    Were influenced by their non-sense opinion, then meet their final destiny (a.k.a death). It is a chaos here, in my country few weeks ago. Cases are down at some point but Death rate is still high

    Reply
    1. Zhu August 14, 2021 at 7:23 pm

      Yes, I thought of you, cases were (are?) apparently surging in Indonesia. Did you get the chance to get vaccinated?

      Reply
      1. Kiky August 15, 2021 at 2:24 am

        Early to mid July i heard news of passing acquaintances every other day.
        People were line up to refill oxygen, find plasma blood donor, it was very stressful and chaos condition. Bed occupancy rate jumped to 95%, that hospital serve the patients in hallway even tents.
        I mean, few months back, when I heard someone passed away due to C19 it is usually friend of a friend, relatives of a friend – not the ones who were in my circle.

        Yes. I got AZ while other family members got sinovac. They are fully vaccinated (one month interval) while I’m waiting for my second jab. AZ has 2-3 months interval. I consider I have privilege since I live near capital city. Talk to friends who live outside Java island, many still unvaccinated. I hope the distribution works well.

        Reply
        1. Zhu August 16, 2021 at 7:41 pm

          I’m glad you got the shot. AZ had a two-month waittime between both doses in France too.

          Vaccine situation is very unfair around the world. I wish people who have the luxury to get vaccinated would reconsider.

          Reply
  2. Pingback: How to Survive (and Possibly Enjoy) a French Protest

  3. Pingback: Read the Walls to Read the Crowd, People are Angry

  4. Pingback: I’m Sure a Sense of Humour Helps with Alzheimer’s

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *