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Champs-Elysées, Paris, FranceShutterstock

(LifeSiteNews) — “We need a lot of collective goodwill,” proclaimed French president Emmanuel Macron in an interview published last Friday by the large regional daily Ouest-France, when asked about a possible “resurgence of violence” as seven “freedom convoys” converged towards Paris, in a bid to obtain an end to vaccine passports and other COVID measures that have poisoned the lives of the French since March 2020. One day later, over 7,000 law enforcement officers in full riot gear “welcomed” the demonstration with Kafkaesque fines and arrests, teargas, truncheons, beatings and overall faceless cruelty and violence.

Macron said people are “tired” of COVID restrictions: “You can perceive mental suffering that is very great, among young people and those who are not so young.” This “weariness also translates into anger.” “I can hear and respect that,” he said, adding, “The demands of all sides are always legitimate. We have always preserved the right to demonstrate, democratic pluralism, parliamentary debates … during this period. But we need concord, a lot of collective goodwill.”

However, the police had clearly received instructions to intimidate, quash and punish the “second-class citizens” who are opposing the government “vaccine” narrative. Macron had told the press he “really felt like pissing [them] off” earlier this year.

Thousands of trucks, RVs, and cars joined the “European Freedom Convoy” despite the decision by the “prefect” of Paris, Didier Lallemant, to ban all motorized demonstrations in Paris and greater Paris from Friday to Monday. He gave a press conference on Friday threatening all those joining the rallies with “sanctions”: “Police arrangements are ready, action will be firm.” He had chosen to be filmed on Paris’ ring road, the “périphérique,” with Pfizer’s headquarters in the background.

He said special impoundment facilities had been set up around Paris and vehicles were ready to remove offending cars.

Already on Friday evening, armored police vehicles were parading along the avenues of Paris and some main thoroughfares were closed off, creating an atmosphere of tension that the French capital had only experienced when the popular protest movement of the “Gilets jaunes” (“yellow vests”) faced violent repression three years ago. Fences and barricades were set up and a large number of the 40 “portes” or gates that allow vehicles to enter the capital were blocked. Anti-riot tractors were also positioned in the capital.

One young woman who entered Paris on foot alone on Friday evening via the bridge of Vincennes was challenged by the police because she was carrying chocolate bars in her backpack. She was fined 135 euros (about $150) for “joining an illegal demonstration.” There were about 10 people on the bridge at the time, she said. A friend arriving with a French flag received the same penalty.

While many members of the Freedom Convoy had decided to gather in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, to spend the night, access to their bivouac was made difficult by the police and some made it to the Champs-Elysées, raising questions about police tactics aiming for a show of force on Saturday.

By Saturday morning, videos of police abuses were starting to spread on social media. They showed peaceful citizens being challenged and fined 135 euros by police merely because they were carrying French flags. Members of the “BRAV” — Brigade de répression de l’action violente motorisée or motorized brigade to repress violence — were deployed all over Paris. One video showed police forces seizing a French flag from a protester and throwing it on the ground. Another was filmed while deliberately breaking the window of a car whose driver was refusing to move along. According to the independent LDC News Agency, the driver was a male nurse.

One policeman is presently under investigation because he pointed his weapon at the driver of a car with a French flag.

“Can you tell us what she did wrong?” said one woman.

One girl tearfully gave her ID to a police officer who was fining her.

Groups of pedestrians on the Champs-Elysées were dispersed using tear gas; in several cases tear gas grenades were thrown into restaurants and open terraces, forcing tourist families with children to leave and seek refuge from the police.

Law enforcement officers were also particularly heavy-handed with peaceful demonstrators, men and women, young and old, many of whom were kicked, thrown to the ground, and hurt by the police. One was kicked in the head and then received cardiac massage for half an hour, according to onlookers who said he was carried to an ambulance and later died. This rumor was contradicted by an official statement from the “Préfecture,” which said the man was well enough after the incident to leave the scene on his own but had accepted to go to a hospital for a check-up.

Another was pushed to the ground and suffered a double leg fracture; he was ruthlessly evacuated from the scene before receiving care.

The French “Freedom convoy” or “Convoi de la liberté” has since left Paris to join the European rally in Brussels, a move some regret because COVID measures, and in particular vaccine passport obligations and working restrictions are specifically imposed by national governments, even though vaccine contracts are negotiated by the European Commission. The EU Commission’s president, Ursula van der Leyen, who is a personal friend of Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla, is suspected of having fixed an exorbitant price for the mRNA jabs via text messages that she has refused to communicate to requests for public information.

Local blockades were also seen this Monday in various locations including the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy.

The terrible images that circulated on the internet on the weekend were widely commented on by the alternative press, while the mainstream media were mostly silent about police violence, instead explaining that the police had successfully stopped the convoy from blocking the capital. According to police figures, some 7,000 demonstrators joined the rally in Paris, 97 were arrested, and 513 were fined.

An independent journalist, Richard Boutry, who is following the convoy, posted a video from Brussels this Monday in which he noted that he is wary of the way the French Freedom Convoy is going. Its figurehead, Rémi Monde, who has been turned into its top figure by the mainstream media, may well have been placed at the head of the movement by the government, according to Boutry, who quoted information to the effect that Monde is a freemason. Boutry also asked questions about the “encrypted” messaging service, Zello, which Monde encourages members of the Convoy to use, with his calls being supported by public radio stations. Richard Boutry argued that in Paris the police was actually able to follow the convoy’s movement via the messaging service.

Is this true or not? In times of confusion, government infiltration of the opposition and a sort of psychological warfare using both sides of the narrative cannot be merely set aside. Canada’s Freedom Convoy has shown itself to be a highly organized, cautious and well-equipped movement, well-prepared for the moves of the powers that be. The French convoy, while obviously intent on its objective of regaining freedom while remaining peaceful and non-violent, appears to be not quite so well run — and is at the same time facing unapologetic scare tactics from political powers that are obviously out for repression pure and simple.

At the weekly rally near France’s health ministry on Saturday, Florian Philippot of Les Patriotes, a break-away party of Marine Le Pen’s “Rassemblement national,” told the crowd that privately, many police officers and “gendarmes” are fed up with the actions they are being forced to take against peaceful citizens.

Meanwhile, government spokesmen suggested last week that France’s vaccine passport will probably be lifted “at the end of March” — days before the presidential election for which Macron is expected to run, even though he has not yet made his candidacy public. This obviously political move was slammed by a group of 20 senators this Monday. They asked for the vaccine passport to be removed immediately because the COVID pandemic is receding rapidly and because the passport is useless regarding the spread of the virus.

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Jeanne Smits has worked as a journalist in France since 1987 after obtaining a Master of Arts in Law. She formerly directed the French daily Présent and was editor-in-chief of an all-internet French-speaking news site called She writes regularly for a number of Catholic journals (Monde & vie, L’Homme nouveau, Reconquête…) and runs a personal pro-life blog. In addition, she is often invited to radio and TV shows on alternative media. She is vice-president of the Christian and French defense association “AGRIF.” She is the French translator of The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire and Christus Vincit by Bishop Schneider, and recently contributed to the Bref examen critique de la communion dans la main about Communion in the hand. She is married and has three children, and lives near Paris.