Emmanuel Macron uses a vulgarity to bestow on the unvaccinated people of France

PARIS (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron has sparked outcry in parliament and protests from campaign rivals by using a vulgarity to describe his strategy of forcing vaccine deniers to get coronavirus jabs.

Macron used the French word “emmerder”, which is rooted in the French word for “shit” and means to scold or harass, in an interview published by the French newspaper Le Parisien on Tuesday night. The president made the explosive remark as lawmakers vehemently discuss new measures that will allow only the vaccinated to enjoy leisure activities such as eating out.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to torment them. And we will continue to do so to the last. That is the strategy,” Le Parisien quoted the French leader as saying in a sit-down interview at the President Elysee Palace with a panel of his readers.

His use of earthly language, more commonly heard at the counters of French cafes, further complicated the already difficult passage in Parliament. the government’s planned new vaccine passport. Lawmakers debated early Wednesday morning before their discussions were again suspended, disturbed by furore over Macron’s remarks.

The vaccine card will exclude unvaccinated people from places such as restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and sports arenas. The passport will also be required on interregional trains and buses and on domestic flights.

Opposition lawmakers protested audibly in the House of Commons as Macron’s health minister, Olivier Veran, tried to defend the president’s choice of words.

Veran said Macron’s interview demonstrated his “intention, above all, to protect the population.”

Critics accused Macron of behaving like a non-president and targeting the unvaccinated to gain the support of the 90% of French adults who are fully vaccinated. Opposition lawmaker Sébastien Jumel said Macron “deliberately chose to add hysteria to the debate.”

Macron faces re-election in April.

Right-wing extremist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, who opposed the vaccine passport proposal, said the president wanted to “wage war against some of the French.”

Another far-right candidate, Eric Zemmour, accused Macron of “cruelty”. Far left, presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon asked, “Does the president have control over what he says?”

Macron’s supporters suggested that the president simply expressed out loud what some vaccinated people already think about the non-vaccinated, in a country with bitter disagreements over the issue.

France reported a record 271,686 daily virus cases on Tuesday as omicron infections raged across the country, straining hospital staff and threatening to disrupt transportation, schools and other services.

Macron’s government is making efforts to avoid a new financially damaging shutdown that could jeopardize his re-election prospects. Ministers are instead trying to speed up the vaccine passport bill through parliament in the hope that it will be enough to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

More than 20,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in France, a number that has been steadily rising for several weeks, but not as sharply as the country’s infection rate.

COVID-19 patients fill more than 72% of France’s intensive care units in intensive care units, and its once famous healthcare system is once again showing signs of strain. Most virus patients in intensive care units have not been vaccinated against coronavirus, although 77% of the French population have received at least two doses.

Leicester reported from Le Pecq, France.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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