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France’s Macron ‘Fully Stands By’ Controversial Comments on Unvaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that he fully stands by controversial remarks earlier in the week in which he vowed to “piss off” people not vaccinated against Covid-19 until they accept shots.

The earthy language and harsh approach provoked uproar in French media and from opponents, while the controversy also delayed debate over the draft law on the “vaccine pass” in parliament’s lower house.

“People can get upset about a way of speaking that seems colloquial, but I fully stand by it. I’m upset about the situation we’re in, that’s where the real divisions are in the country,” he told reporters at a Paris press conference.

Macron had told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview that “as for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off” with new measures that would bar them from much of public life.

“We have to tell (the unvaccinated)… you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema,” the president said.

Macron also reiterated a widely-criticised line from the same interview, in which he said that “irresponsible people are no longer citizens” — also in reference to the unvaccinated. “To be a citizen is to have rights and duties, and duties come first,” he said Friday.

“The idea of freedom brandished by some of our fellow citizens to say ‘I’m free not to get vaccinated’, that stops where you impinge on others’ liberty, where you put others’ lives in danger”.

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