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Macron vows to 'hassle until the end' non-vaccinated French

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5 January 2022, 01.47

President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday warned people in France not yet vaccinated against Covid-19 that he would cause them trouble by limiting access to key aspects of life in the country.

"As for the non-vaccinated, I really want to hassle them. And we will continue to do this, to the end. This is the strategy," he told the Le Parisien newspaper in an interview.

He added this would mean "limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life".

Macron's comments came as the government seeks to push through parliament legislation that will make vaccination compulsory to enjoy cultural activities, use inter-city train travel or visit to a cafe from January 15.

No longer will it be possible to have a recent test or a recovery from the coronavirus to qualify for the country's Covid pass.

But the government was incensed when the opposition joined forces on Monday to hold up the passage of the legislation through parliament.

Consideration of the bill was suspended late Wednesday following Macron's provocative remarks, with president of the session Marc Le Fur saying they could not meet "conditions for a calm working environment".

Earlier, the French president had said: "I am not going to put them (the non-vaccinated) in prison, I am not going to forcibly vaccinate them.

"And so, we have to tell them: from January 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema," he said.

Macron's opponents accused the president, who in the initial phase of his time in office earned a reputation for sometimes tactless comments, of going too far with the language of his warning.

"No health emergency justifies such words," said Bruno Retailleau, head of the right-wing Republicans in the upper house Senate.

"Emmanuel Macron says he has learned to love the French, but it seems he especially likes to despise them. We can encourage vaccination without insulting anyone or pushing them to radicalisation", he said.