France is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases linked to the Delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious. Many experts, including the French Health Minister Olivier Veran, have claimed that “the fourth wave is already here”, with figures suggesting that nine out of 10 newly infected people are unvaccinated in France. In order to fight the rapid surge in new infections, Mr Macron introduced health passes.
People are required to have these if they want to enter shopping malls, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Anyone who does not have a health pass when they need to will face heavy fines and a prison sentence.
More than 100,000 people marched across France on Saturday to protest against the restrictions.
The interior ministry said 137 marches took place across the country, gathering 114,000 people.
And, as the introduction of restrictions came into force yesterday, many people have hit out at the French president criticising his approach.
The health passes will be required at entrances to cinemas, museums, libraries and amusement parks that accommodate more than 50 people, but wearing a mask will not be compulsory in those places.
Marine Le Pen, France’s National Front leader and presidential candidate, took to Twitter to express her thoughts.
She wrote: “Brutal and illegal! 50 people obviously cannot be considered a “large gathering.” This government has no limits. #HealthPass.”
READ MORE: France in horror Covid warning: ‘Fourth wave is HERE!’
She continued: “We believe that vaccination should remain a personal choice which leaves everyone the right to assess the risk-benefit balance in relation to their own situation, because we are attached to the principle of free and informed consent, the basis of health policy.”
She added: “The health pass can certainly be considered for the demonstrations of thousands of people, but to impose it in the acts of daily life is excessive and frankly unmanageable.
“It is above all important to restore confidence in public speech through truth, consistency and pragmatism.”
Ms Le Pen also claimed that Emmanuel Macron’s actions are an invasion of “individual freedom”.
The 52-year-old said: “Our country in its contemporary history has never experienced such an attack on individual freedoms, moreover decreed without warning, imposed without reasonable delay at the start of our holidays, an attack on equality between citizens and even fraternity, because there is no doubt that the particularly coercive nature of these measures, their stigmatising character, the enlistment of a part of the people as supervisor of the other part, will not be done without tensions.”
Marine Le Pen was not the only one criticising Mr Macron.
Julien Odoul, National Assembly member, tweeted: “This Health Pass will fracture French society.
“Some workers could lose their jobs because they do not want to be vaccinated or were unable to get the vaccine on time. This bill will spoil the summer for the French.”
Mr Odoul later added: “The Health Pass is the symbol of government failure and renunciation.
“Faced with the epidemic, Marine Le Pen has been proposing for months to develop research on treatment, analyse wastewater, sequencing, and seriously control our borders.”
Another French politician, Laurent Jacobelli, said: “We are creating a health divide between the French who will have the means to pay for one test a day and those who are forced to be vaccinated even if they don’t want to.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega