Macron defied: Small French town leads charge refusing to implement grotesque scheme

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The mayor of Frejus, a small town on France’s southeastern coast, said he wouldn’t overburden his police officers by making them enforce the rules. Mayor David Rachline fumed: “I find this measure grotesque. We will punish the owners of restaurants, bars while most establishments have terraces and the virus is not transmitted outdoors.

“I do not want the Frejus police to participate in this panic-inducing measure, which seems unreasonable to me.”

The mayor of the French Riviera town of Frejus is a member of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party.

Mr Rachline insisted his police force had other priorities to be concentrating on.

He added: “The municipal police of Frejus depends on the mayor and its priorities are clear: the security of residents and public safety.

“The summer season is in full swing, tourists are present and they consume.

“We can’t prevent local economic players from having a good season with extravagant measures. The police clearly have other things to do.”

President Macron’s government has introduced the Covid passport in the hope of convincing more people to go out and get vaccinated.

He has already faced mass protests across France as opposition mounts against his scheme.

Under the plan, proof of full vaccination or a negative test will be required to gain access to bars, cafes, clubs and trains.

It will also be necessary for those who want to be admitted to hospital for non-urgent treatment and for visitors.

A further 19 “places of activity and leisure” are included in the vaccine passport system, such as museums, cinemas, libraries, zoos and riverboats.

Mr Rachline said while it is important to increase the number of people receiving a coronavirus vaccine, this shouldn’t be at the detriment of the economy.

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He said: “We must continue to vaccinate vulnerable people, I have no problem with vaccination.

“Now, it is not useful to punish all residents, tourists, and economic actors.

“The incidence rate in the Var region is now stable, so there is no reason to apply this measure as it stands.”

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And in a direct warning to Mr Macron, the Frejus mayor said: “I would want him to relax in this beautiful region, breathe a little and calm down.

“Let him see for himself on our beautiful terraces that we do not catch the virus outside, he could perhaps come here and experience it himself.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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