MARIGOT - The protest organized by movement Saint-Martin Resistance against President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron’s order to implement mandatory vaccinations and a sanitary health pass proceeded as planned early Saturday morning.
The Préfecture estimated 560 persons took part in the protest march while march organizers insisted at least 1,000 or more participated. It was not clear how many people from the Dutch-side participated.
The gathering began at the Agrément roundabout from 6:00am before the march started at 7:30am proceeding along Rue de Hollande, before descending Rue de La République, turning left into Rue de la Liberté and on to Rue Kennedy, before the right turn out to Lowtown and Bellevue. The march finished back on the waterfront.
Many protestors held hand-written placards expressing their rights to freedom on the subject. “My body, my choice”, “Freedom, Equality, Fraternity”, “No to disguised mandatory vaccination,” “I am a free man, not a QR code,” “No to dictatorship,” were some of the messages sent out.
The march was closely monitored by the Gendarmerie and the Préfecture but passed off peacefully with minimum disruption. A sign of possible increased tension occurred on Rue de la République when coloured flares were let off, possibly just for effect, but nothing came of it. Protestors chanted “We have the power” and “No forced jab.”
Intermittent rain showers did not dampen protestor’s spirits. The procession came to a halt at various intervals to allow persons to express their feelings through a megaphone.
“We don’t need mandatory vaccinations; St. Martin has enough priority issues to be dealt with, in French Quarter for example. We need good leadership,” said one speaker. Another one said: “If you don’t make the choice, they (the State) will make if for you. Soon they will tell you when you can or cannot go to the bathroom. So, take control of your life.”
The march ended back on the waterfront where organizer Jean-Barry Hodge declared the event a success to big applause. He thanked the media for the awareness and persons behind the scenes who helped organize the protest.
Hodge warned that Saturday’s march was just the beginning, and protests could escalate.
“Today we sent out a strong message to local and national authorities. I’m not anti-vaccinations. I’m against forced, dictatorial, mandatory vaccinations,” he repeated. “Everybody has a right to decide what they want injected into their body. I’m a human being, not a robot. It’s up to you if you want to take the vaccine.”
He added if the State proceeds with implementing its plan for a sanitary health pass, it will not be a march next time “but something at a whole different level.”
“What they are doing to us is not peaceful, so we will not be peaceful. If the Préfet implements this for St. Martin, then everyone of you take your own responsibility for the consequences.”