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Paris police ban ‘freedom convoy’ COVID protest

by editor

Paris police have prohibited so-called freedom convoys, the French capital’s prefect announced in a press release Thursday.

Inspired by ongoing protests taking place in Canada against coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates, demonstrators who oppose COVID-19 measures taken by national governments and the EU are planning to occupy cities in their vehicles.

But Paris police are taking a hard line.

“Due to the risk of public order disturbances that this gathering could cause, the Prefect of Police is issuing an order prohibiting such demonstrations from Friday, February 11, 2022 to Monday, February 14, 2022 inclusive,” the police statement reads.

Transgressors could risk up to two years in jail, a €4,500 fine, and the removal of the car and driver’s license if they block roads. Organizers of the banned demonstration face up to six months in jail and a €7,500 fine.

French convoys from around the country were expected to reach Paris on Friday, and — along with convoys from across Europe — will then head to Brussels on Monday.

It is unclear how many convoy demonstrators from across the 27-country bloc will reach the Belgian capital, but tens of thousands of people have spent weeks planning the February 14 protest, many using encrypted messaging services like Telegram to plan routes, share logistics support and raise funds.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Mobility. From the digitization of the automotive sector to aviation policy, logistics and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the Mobility policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.

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