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Macron Calls for Unity After Protests  07/25 08:36

   French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for national unity and mass 
vaccination to fight the resurgent virus, and lashed out at those fueling 
anti-vaccine sentiment and protests.

   PARIS (AP) -- French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for national unity 
and mass vaccination to fight the resurgent virus, and lashed out at those 
fueling anti-vaccine sentiment and protests.

   About 160,000 people protested around France on Saturday against a special 
COVID-19 pass for restaurants and mandatory vaccinations for health workers. 
Many marchers shouted "liberty!" and said the government shouldn't tell them 
what to do.

   Visiting a hospital in French Polynesia on Saturday night Tahiti time, 
Macron asked, "What is your freedom worth if you say to me 'I don't want to be 
vaccinated,' but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?"

   While he said protesters are "free to express themselves in a calm and 
respectful manner," he said demonstrations won't make the coronavirus go away.

   "I want to make a call for unity," he said. He criticized "people who are in 
the business of irrational, sometimes cynical, manipulative mobilization" 
against vaccination. Among those organizing the protests have been far-right 
politicians and extremist members of France's yellow vest movement tapping into 
anger at Macron's government.

   More than 111,000 people with the virus have died in France, which is 
registering about 20,000 new infections daily compared to just a few thousand 
earlier this month. Concerns for hospitals are resurfacing.

   Overnight, lawmakers in the French Senate passed a bill allowing for the 
COVID-19 passes in all French restaurants and other venues and for obligatory 
vaccines for health workers. But they made so many changes to the version 
passed by the lower house that the bill must now go to a joint committee later 
Sunday to try to find a compromise version.

 
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