French people

Macron says he wants to “annoy” the unvaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a screen as he delivers his New Year’s address to the nation at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 31, 2021. REUTERS / Christian Hartmann

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PARIS, Jan.4 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated, in a slang and cutting remark that sparked howls of condemnation from opposition rivals less than 4 months before the next presidential election.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to annoy them. And therefore, we will continue to do it, until the end. This is the strategy,” Macron told Le Parisien in an interview published Tuesday evening.

France implemented a health pass last year that prevents people without a PCR test or proof of vaccination from entering restaurants, cafes and other places. The government wants to turn it into a vaccination passport which means that only the vaccinated can have a health pass.

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“I will not send (the unvaccinated) to prison, I will not vaccinate by force. So you have to tell them, from January 15, you will no longer be able to go to a restaurant, you cannot take one down, do not to be able to have a coffee, go to the theater, to the cinema … “

The expression “piss off”, from “merde” (shit), which can also be translated as “piss them off” or “get pissed off”, is considered “very informal” by the French dictionary Larousse and has aroused immediate criticism from rivals on social media.

Macron has been criticized in the past for improvised remarks which many French people said seemed arrogant, abusive or contemptuous. He then expressed his contrition several times.

“A president shouldn’t be saying that,” far-right leader Marine Le Pen said on Twitter. “Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”

In the detailed interview, Macron’s first for the New Year, the president also said he was prepared to run for re-election in April, but did not explicitly announce his intention to run.

“I would like to do it,” Macron said.

As a big favorite in the polls, Macron has yet to officially announce his candidacy, although his lieutenants are already preparing a campaign.

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Reporting by Michel Rose and Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Richard Pullin

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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