A crowd of anti-sanitary-pass protesters in the French archipelago of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon assaulted their local MP Stéphane Claireaux on Sunday, throwing seaweed and pebbles at him as he stood in front of his house.
Public broadcaster la 1ère reported that 600 opponents to proposed sanitary restrictions protested in Saint-Pierre and in Miquelon, two small islands south of Canada’s Newfoundland where about 6,000 French people live. A few dozen of the protesters went to Claireaux’s home.
“It looked like a stoning,” Claireaux said in an interview with Franceinfo. “Everyone knows each other in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, and you have in front of you people you know but whose face is so distorted by hatred you can’t recognize them anymore. It’s surreal.”
The crowd was protesting new regulations imposing the sanitary pass on the archipelago following a surge in COVID cases, as well as a bill passed Thursday by the French National Assembly that would require proof of vaccination or recovery to access restaurants, bars, cultural venues or long-distance public transport. The bill still has to pass the Senate this week.
Claireaux did not take part in last Thursday’s vote but is an MP for Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche party. The French president vowed to “piss off” the unvaccinated in an interview last Tuesday, riling opponents to his government’s sanitary measures.
Sea Minister and former Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon MP Annick Girardin tweeted a video of the assault, calling it “deeply shocking.” An investigation was opened by local police.
Other local officials have been threatened or assaulted in France recently. Last Tuesday, Guadeloupe hospital director Gérard Cotellon was locked up in his office for hours by protesters and was hit repeatedly as he was escorted out by police forces, la 1ère reported.
Dozens of MPs have filed complaints after receiving death threats related to their position on COVID-19 restrictions, National Assembly President Richard Ferrand said in December.