Covid-19 in France

French MP vows to take legal action against anti-vaccination attackers

French MP Stéphane Claireaux has announced his intention to take legal action against anti-vaccination protestors who, he alleges, threw seaweed and stones at himself and his wife outside their home on the French north-Atlantic island of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.

Stéphane Claireaux MP for the ruling LREM party representing France's overseas territory of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon speaking in the parliament
Stéphane Claireaux MP for the ruling LREM party representing France's overseas territory of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon speaking in the parliament © Assemblée Générale

"We felt like we were being stoned," said Stéphane Claireaux of the incident on Sunday which saw the ruling party Republic on the Move (LREM) MP and his wife showered with stones and seaweed outside their home in the French Territorial Collectivity of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.

"Obviously, I'm not going to let this pass. I'm going to the police.

"Some people think that we're not making the right decisions. That's their business.

"But we're all getting death threats by e-mail. You reach a point where you say 'this has to stop'."

'A rock missed me by 5 centimetres'

Speaking on French radio on Monday, Stéphane Claireaux explained that he had waited for the protestors to pass by his house, "so that I could discuss the situation with them.

"There was a truck full of seaweed, and people started throwing it in my face. My wife came out and joined me. A rock shot past my head, missing me by 5 centimetres." 

On Sunday, Marine Minister Annick Girardin denounced the "attack", claiming that the deputy had been hit by several objects and then attacked by stone-throwers.

Democracy in danger

Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, the spokesperson for former prime minister Edouard Philippe's new party Horizons, said the incident had "crossed a red line".

The MP for the group Agir in Seine-Maritime said she has also filed a legal complaint after being threatened with decapitation over her position on the health pass.

"Our democracy is clearly in danger," she told France Info on Monday.

The French Overseas Territories Minister, Sébastien Lecornu, described the events as "a lynching outside a family home".

Lecornu also announced that the Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, has instructed the police chief of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon to "ensure the safety of the member of parliament."

The alleged attack took place in the wake of last Wednesday's establishment of the obligatory health pass for the 5,000 inhabitants of the island group off the eastern coast of Canada.

Senate to hear Olivier Véran

After a delay in getting through parliament (National Assembly) last week, the resumption of the debate on the status of the vaccination pass will take place in the French Senate on Monday.

The government wishes to change the current health pass into a vaccination certificate, which would be obligatory for all wishing to access public venues, regional transport and workplaces.

The majority right-wing upper house has promised to pass the proposed bill, but has warned that the text will have to be amended.

A committee of senators will interview the Health Minister, Olivier Véran, on Monday afternoon, before opening the upper house debate on the proposals.

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