HOSPITALITY bosses in Marseille have staged a furious protest against Emmanuel Macron’s strict lockdown rules which will force bars and restaurants in the French coastal city to close.
Just months after they were given the green light to reopen the venues will this weekend have to shut under the government’s sweeping measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus. Demonstrators revolted against what they see as Mr Macron’s second economic lockdown by gathering in front of the city’s commercial court on Friday morning.
Cedric Angelone, co-President of the Event Activities Union, was among the high-profile speakers to attend the rally. He fumed: “September was a hope, this is like a cold shower. This is a death foretold.”
The gathering was organised by the Hotel Industry Union and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Bernard Marty, President of the Union of Bouches-du-Rhône, the first employers’ union of cafes, hotels, restaurants, also hit out at the latest rules.
He said: “I do not want our establishments to be closed. I want the state to exercise the controls it is supposed to, and only close those establishments that do not comply with health measures. Stop the contradictory decisions, stop these behaviours that make us no longer understand anything!”
Issuing a chilling warning to President Macron, Mr Marty said “Marseille will experience insurrectionary moments” as the city grapples with a new raft of restrictions. Ahead of Saturday’s closure, some restaurateurs were already suggesting that they would not respect the ban on trading.
Protesters chanted “we remain open!” and “we want to work!” as they prepared for the arrival of Health Minister Olivier Veran in the city. The protest took place on the same day that COVID cases in France reached a grim milestone.
Infections soared past the half-million mark after authorities recorded a near-record daily jump. On Friday, the total number stood at 513,034, health ministry data showed. The figure took France into a group of just 11 countries with more than half a million cases. The United States has the most with 7 million.
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