A French centre for Wuhan coronavirus vaccinations was subjected to an alleged arson attack as protests erupted against President Emmanuel Macron’s new vaccine passport guidelines.
The incident took place on Saturday night to early Sunday morning in the municipality of Urrugne in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques county in south-western France. Prosecutor Jérôme Bourrier of Bayonne stated that an investigation had been opened into the suspected arson attack.
“Everyone has the right to have their opinion on vaccination, but this regrettable act harms all in Urrugne,” municipal official Danièle Bideondo-Baron said, French newspaper Le Figaro reports.
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Philippe Aramendi, the mayor of Urrugne, said that he was convinced the fire was set on purpose, saying: “I was called at three in the morning, and it was found that a flammable product had been spilt around the marquee. Fortunately, firefighters quickly contained the flames and the tent was only partially destroyed.”
“It may be too early to know if we are dealing with anti-vaxxers, but if they are, it is saddening,” he added, calling the incident unacceptable.
Over the weekend, protests erupted across France, with over 100,000 people taking to the streets to protest President Macron’s new coronavirus guidelines that will require vaccination passports to enter certain businesses, including bars and restaurants, or engage in certain types of travel.
Another vaccination centre was ransacked on Friday in the southeast of the country, while several elected officials have complained of receiving threats since President Macron announced the new coronavirus measures and urged police to increase security for elected officials.
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The suspected arson comes as a court in the Netherlands convicted two people, a 21-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, for setting fire to a Wuhan coronavirus testing site.
The pair are said to have broken into the testing area on January 23rd in a small village near Urk and started a fire in a garbage container, then spread the fire using flammable disinfectant liquid.
The 21-year-old was sentenced to a year in prison with six months suspended, while the teen received 180 days of youth detention with 131 days suspended, along with 120 hours of unpaid community service work.