Freedom Convoy: Macron Accused of Campaigning with ‘Armoured Vehicles’, as Nearly 100 Protesters Arrested

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 12: Armoured police vehicles drive along the Champs Elysees as th
Sam Tarling/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has been slammed for the use of armoured police vehicles against the banned Paris Freedom Convoy after nearly 100 were arrested by police.

Paris saw police arrest 97 people on Saturday, as the nation’s Freedom Convoy protest hit the streets of the capital, despite a ban imposed by French authorities.

According to a report by Le Monde, 81 people were in police custody as of 6 am this morning local time, with one of those held being described as one of the “faces” of France’s “Yellow Vest” movement.

Meanwhile, an internal investigation into the actions of one officer is being launched, after a video emerged online showing one demonstrator being left with a head injury after being struck by police.

“A video is currently circulating on social networks following a police intervention on the Champs-Elysées,” the publication reports the authorities as saying. “The prefect is having an internal administrative investigation launched.”

Police also emphasised that the ban on the protest remains ongoing, according to the Le Monde report.

Hundreds of fines have also been handed out to individuals during the demonstrations, according to POLITICO.

One piece of footage which emerged on social media even appears to show police tear gas being used against a café.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron received swift backlash for the police use of armoured vehicles against the banned demonstration.

Like a number of other countries in Europe and further afield, France has begun a harsh crackdown on anti-lockdown protesters, with video emerging yesterday of law enforcement beating demonstrators and breaking the windows of cars.

Right-wing populist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been one of the big names to hit out at President Macron, who she accused of kicking off his presidential reelection campaign with “armoured vehicles”.

“In the wake of the arrival of armoured vehicles from the gendarmerie in Paris, he could declare his candidacy because, symbolically, I find that it resembles his mandate,” Le Pen said, saying Macron’s previous five years in the presidency has been characterised by “chaos, disorder, conflict, division of the French people.”

“Energy prices keep rising. No government response. The vaccination pass is useless and yet it does not remove this device that violates individual freedoms,” Le Pen had previously said regarding the demonstrations. “I understand the annoyance of the French.”

Socialist presidential candidate Nathalie Arthaud also praised the demonstrations, describing them as “the denunciation of soaring gas prices”, “precariousness” and “low wages”.

“They are right to fight and I applaud them for inviting themselves into this election campaign,” the candidate told France Info. “It feels good to finally hear about the problems of the working classes.”

Firebrand populist candidate Eric Zemmour also took aim at Emmanuel Macron, saying that he had drastically mismanaged the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic.

“The vaccination pass must be abolished,” Zemmour wrote online. “Emmanuel Macron has decidedly mismanaged this epidemic crisis. I have been saying since December that we must take lasting measures because the epidemic is becoming endemic.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.