france convoy

Heavily armoured vehicles and specialist police officers await the arrival of multiple 'Freedom Convoys' on Friday February 11, 2022, near the Grand Palais, in Paris, France
French truckers inspired by Canadian protests against vaccine mandates arrive in French capital as Macron urges calm despite deploying armoured tanks and thousands of police on to streets.

Armoured vehicles lined the historic streets of Paris yesterday evening as the French capital braced itself for the arrival of thousands of 'Freedom Convoy' truckers who plan to blockade the city.

The convoy, inspired by the Canadian truckers demonstrating against vaccine mandates, began in cities across the country including Bayonne, Perpignan, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg and Nice, and started trickling into towns outside Paris late Friday evening. Police sources estimate almost 2,000 vehicles will descend on the city.

Comment: Having seen the success of the Canadian convoy protests, the French authorities are apparently so frightened that they've set up check points:
Translation: PARIS - Some of the #ConvoidelaLiberte tried to access the capital: they are blocked by the police on the ring road. #ConvoisFrance2022

They include many anti-Covid vaccination activists, but also people protesting against fast-rising energy prices that they say are making it impossible for low-income families to make ends meet.

French President Emmanuel Macron was forced to call for calm as the protestors gained further momentum, with one Facebook group attributed to the 'Convoi de la Liberte' reaching more than 350,000 followers as of Friday evening.

With just two months before the impending elections the premier told Ouest-France newspaper he understood the 'fatigue' linked to the Covid 19 pandemic, but added: 'This fatigue also leads to anger. I understand it and I respect it. But I call for the utmost calm.'

Paris police warned those taking part they risk a two-year prison sentence, driving ban and hefty fine, but that has not deterred the thousands of motorists intending to cause road chaos before moving on to Brussels on Monday.

Comment: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been issuing equally tyrannical threats to truckers and their supporters, how managed to raise MILLIONS of dollars in support, and which they were subsequently blocked from accessing by GoFundMe, seemingly due to government pressure:

Belgium and Austria have also banned the convoys which aim to paralyse cities in the same way the truckers caused a gridlock in Ottawa.

Pensioner Jean-Marie Azais, who joined the convoy in the south-west of France, told The Guardian: 'We've been going around in circles for three years. We saw the Canadians and said to ourselves: 'It's awesome, what they're doing.' In eight days, boom, something was sparked.'

'People need to see us, and to listen to the people who just want to live a normal and free life,' said Lisa, a 62-year-old retired health worker who joined a convoy of more than 1,000 vehicles leaving Chateaubourg in the western Brittany region early Friday.
france convoy

Groups of protesters had started gathering near roads in the French capital on Friday night as the arrival of multiple 'Freedom Convoys' was expected from all across the country
Like other protesters, Lisa has been active in the 'yellow vest' movement that erupted over a fuel tax hike before becoming a platform for other complaints against President Emmanuel Macron.

The yellow vests often clashed with police, but Lisa said she hoped the protests on Friday would go off peacefully. 'It would really annoy me if things got out of hand,' she explained.

'We're citizens, we have families, we work and we're all united against the government,' said Sarah, a 40-year-old tattoo artist from the northern city of Lens.

Paris police banned the gathering because of feared 'public order disturbances' and said protesters who tried to block roads would face fines or arrest.

'We must be very firm about this,' Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

Police showed off their anti-blockage arsenal on Twitter, publishing photographs of loader tractors for the removal of barricades as well trucks equipped with cranes or water cannon.

The protesters meanwhile shared information about police deployments around Paris.

'It's important that we don't interfere with other people on the roads,' said one activist, Robin, on his way from Illkirch-Graffenstaden in the eastern Alsace region. 'That way we'll keep the population on our side, like they did in Canada.'

The police deployment in Paris will include rapid-response officers on motorbikes and heavy lifting equipment to remove any potential makeshift roadblocks.

One woman said: 'The authorities cannot block everyone. The convoys must force it, they must still try to enter.'

Paris police have been instructed to deal 'firmly' with any attempt to block the capital's roads.

The protesters meanwhile shared information about police deployment around Paris, often via the Telegram messaging service, and exchanged tips about the easiest access routes.

Many demonstrators are planning to stay in Paris overnight, and then join one of the regular Saturday protests against the government's vaccine pass.

Some then want to travel on to Brussels for a 'European convergence' of protesters planned there for Monday.

Phil, a 58-year-old on his way by truck from Brittany, said his refusal to get vaccinated had created 'upheaval' in his family and work relations.

'When you join a demonstration you feel less alone,' he told expained.

The government has expressed some sympathy for the protesters, with spokesman Gabriel Attal attributing their anger to 'fatigue and weariness' after long-lasting Covid restrictions. The government also announced Friday a further easing of Covid rules.

'People need to see us, and to listen to the people who just want to live a normal and free life,' said Lisa, a retired 62-year-old, as she joined a convoy of over 1,000 vehicles leaving Chateaubourg in the western Britanny region.

Like many protesters, Lisa has been an activist in the 'yellow vest' movement which erupted in 2018 over fuel prices, but then became a platform for many other grievances linked to economic hardship.

Comment: The Yellow Vest protests continued for nearly two years, enjoying support from up to two-thirds of the population, and which the police respond to with unprecedented brutality as a means to discourage the incredibly popular movement.

france convoy

The convoy, inspired by the Canadian truckers demonstrating against vaccine mandates, started in cities across the country
Many demonstrators are planning to stay in Paris overnight, and then join one of the regular Saturday protests against the government's vaccine pass.

Some then want to travel on to Brussels for a 'European convergence' of protesters planned there for Monday.

Belgian authorities also said they would also ban the convoys following the warnings motorists will descend on the city.

'Means are being put in place to prevent the blocking of the Brussels-Capital Region,' the mayor of the Belgian capital, Philippe Close, said on Twitter.

Meanwhile Austria also outlawed the protests, as hundreds of vehicles planned to bring Vienna to a halt today.

Austrian police said in a tweet the convoy would cause an 'unacceptable nuisance in terms of noise in a popular recreation area'. and increase pollution levels.

Comment: Unacceptable to who? And note that these same authorities didn't go to the same lengths to stop the BLM riots of 2020.

'After weighing up, the interests of protecting health and public welfare were given greater weight than the interests of the organisers in holding the protest.'

Austria protest

Austria has become the latest country to ban Freedom Convoys inspired by Canadian truckers protesting against vaccine mandates. Pictured: anti-Covid protests in Vienna last month
Supporters wave French national flag with a slogan reading 'the last bastion' during the Freedom Convoy in Vimy, northern France

The so-called Freedom Convoy began in January in western Canada - launched in anger at requirements that truckers either be vaccinated or test and isolate when crossing the US-Canadian border.

But the movement has morphed into a broader protest against Covid-related restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, and put a spotlight on pandemic curbs around the world.

Comment: And that's exactly what the authorities are afraid of: an effective protest that highlights the dystopian future Western governements are dragging their citizens towards.

While police say the number of protesters in Ottawa is dropping, a blockade that started at the vital Ambassador Bridge linking Canada and the United States is disrupting trade.

Demonstrators have aired a litany of grievances encompassing COVID-19 health measures, a carbon tax and other legislation.

'We continue to know that science and public health rules and guidance is the best way to this pandemic is the way we're going to get to the other side,' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters as he entered a Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday.

Calls have gone out on social media for similar rallies in Europe and the United States.

In Ottawa, some people are using those media platforms to make a plea: 'Make Ottawa boring again,' playing on the Make America Great Again mantra of former US president Donald Trump, who has expressed support for the truckers.

Meanwhile, another copycat convoy in New Zealand faced off with police outside the country's parliament.

Demonstrators camped inside the Wellington legislature's grounds vowed to stay 'as long as it takes' to force the government into lifting Covid measures.

The protest, which began Tuesday as a copycat of action by the Canadian truckers, turned tense as about 100 police stood guard on the steps of parliament.

Many of the vehicles that jammed central Wellington's streets the previous day had left by Wednesday, but a hardcore of several hundred protesters pitched tents and refused to leave.

Three were arrested after trying to breach the police line as supporters chanted 'let them through' but officials said the event remained largely peaceful.

New Zealand requires mandatory Covid vaccinations for people working in sectors such as health, law enforcement, education and defence, with those who refuse the jab facing the sack.

Proof of vaccination must also be shown to enter restaurants, sports events and religious services.