February 9, 2022
NICE, FRANCE — Protesters gathered in southern France on Wednesday for what they say will be a “freedom convoy” that will converge on Paris and Brussels to demand an end to COVID-19 restrictions, inspired by protesters who have blocked a Canadian border crossing.
About 200 protesters assembled in a parking lot in Nice, on France’s Mediterranean coast, with many displaying Canadian flags in a nod to the truckers in Canada who are protesting their government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The protesters in Nice said they planned to head first to Paris, then on to Brussels — headquarters of the European Union — to demand, among other things, the scrapping of rules barring people from public venues if they don’t have a COVID-19 vaccination.
“Lots of people don’t understand why a vaccine pass is in force in France,” said one man who was helping coordinate the convoy from Nice, and who gave his name as Denis.
“Our work is to communicate to Europe that putting in place a health pass until 2023 is something the majority of our fellow citizens cannot understand,” said Denis, who declined to give his family name.
Not all of the people setting out from Nice planned to travel all the way to Paris or Brussels. The convoy was made up of motorcycles and private cars, but no trucks.
In the city of Perpignan, near France’s border with Spain, around 200 people gathered to set off towards Paris as part of the “freedom convoy” movement.
Their convoy was made up of cars, some camper vans, and one heavy-goods vehicle.