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Macron Begins Sending Armed Vehichles to Paris as Trucking Convoy Moves In

  Armored personnel carriers were on the streets of Paris Friday to prepare for the French version of the Freedom Convoy. French police have...

 Armored personnel carriers were on the streets of Paris Friday to prepare for the French version of the Freedom Convoy.

French police have warned against participation in a Paris protest, saying that protesters could face two years in prison a big fine, and might be banned from driving, according to the Daily Mail.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said one should not “associate these virulent attacks against vaccination with the word freedom.”

“If they block Paris or if they try to block the capital, we will have to be very firm,” Castex said, according to The New York Times.

French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke against the protest, saying the nation needed “unity” and “a collective goodwill.”

Protesters said the Freedom Convoy that crossed Canada inspired them to emulate it.

“We’ve been going around in circles for three years. We saw the Canadians and said to ourselves: ‘It’s awesome, what they’re doing.’ In eight days, boom, something was sparked,” protester Jean-Marie Azais said, according to The Guardian.

“People need to see us, and to listen to the people who just want to live a normal and free life,” a woman the Daily Mail identified only as Lisa, 62, said. She was part of a 1,000-vehicle convoy leaving Brittany to head for Paris.

Although opposition to vaccine mandates is a core issue in the protests, one commentator noted it was not the only issue.

“The convoy is not coming out of nowhere,” said Jacob Davey from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank that studies “extremism,” according to The Washington Post.  “It’s coming out of an established anti-vax, anti-lockdown movement that has been putting down roots in different countries.”

The Belgian capital of Brussels, which is the target for a major protest, and the Austrian capital of Vienna have also banned protesters, although trucks are already reported on the streets of Vienna.

“The Federal Police will control motorized vehicles on the main roads to Brussels that come to demonstrate in Belgium. The Region and the City of Brussels will issue decrees banning demonstrations with trucks on their territory,” a Brussels statement said, according to The Independent.

Austrian police said in routing the convoy into Vienna would cause an “unacceptable nuisance in terms of noise in a popular recreation area”  and increase pollution.

“The planned use of horns and loudspeakers to bypass the ring road throughout the evening and night significantly exceeds the level of noise that can otherwise be tolerated,” police said.

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