Despite orders from French President Emmanuel Macron to remain in their homes, members of the public in various parts of Paris were observed gathering in large crowds in the hours after the quarantine.
On Monday evening, President Macron addressed the French nation and ordered a nationwide 15-day lockdown in order to halt, or at least slow, the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus that has seen a surge in confirmed cases in France in recent days.
Macron Puts France on 15-Day Lockdown in Coronavirus ‘Health War’ https://t.co/XNeiMT9Qvi
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 17, 2020
While many parts of France have seen the public obey the government’s commands and remained in their homes, parts of Paris have, by contrast, seen people gathering in large crowds in defiance of the order.
French journalist Simon Louvet took to Twitter to show members of the public in the heavily migrant populated 18th arrondissement were gathering in markets and shops without regard to social distancing instructions.
“In some neighbourhoods, none of the safety rules are respected. This is the case at Château-Rouge, in Paris 18. No distance in the queues, crowded street like a normal day,” Louvet wrote on Twitter and posted a video of people going on about their day, many not wearing masks.
Dans certains quartiers, aucune des règles de sécurité n'est respectée. C'est le cas à Château-Rouge, dans #Paris18. Pas de distance dans les files d'attente, rue bondée comme un jour normal. #Confinementotal #coronavirus #COVID19france pic.twitter.com/li7H4nZigN
— simon louvet (@simonlouvet_) March 17, 2020
As police attempted to make members of the public aware that they had to disperse and go back to their homes, tensions began to rise with one woman yelling at police, only to be met by officers yelling at her to go home in return.
“In Château-Rouge, there are fewer people than before the fateful hour of total confinement, but there are still a lot of people. Traders fear the police and try to enforce orders, but the tension is palpable,” Louvet wrote.
Police were said to be frustrated with the behaviour of the locals, with one stating: “People don’t realise it because they don’t see coronavirus patients dying. When they die at home, they will cry.”
“We will have to stay permanently, otherwise they will come back. A few minutes after this fatalistic declaration, a woman verbally attacked a policewoman who asked her to go home. The woman simulated a cough saying, ‘I have the coronavirus, you will get it,'” another officer said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, France had over 7,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 175 deaths.