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‘Do you want me to stop working?’ As Paris restaurants are ordered into new curfew, angry citizens hold street protest

Over a hundred protesters took to the streets of Paris to decry the new curfew introduced by President Macron to stop the spread of Covid-19. Restaurant staff complained about the restrictions as customers supported the rally.

People carrying flares and chanting “Freedom!” marched through Paris’ streets on Saturday, denouncing the recent restrictions imposed by the government to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“I work in the food business, do you want me to stop working?” a man supporting the protest told the Ruptly video agency. “I hope that the government stops these ridiculous measures that put people in the streets.”

“It’s 9pm, but looks like it’s 1am,” a local waiter told Le Figaro as the first curfew came into effect. “We will adapt, but it’s a big loss, the evening [hours] are important to us.”

Xavier Denamur, who owns several bistros in Paris, told the AP that the curfew was “a catastrophic measure for the industry.”

“There’s no evidence that this difference of a couple of hours will have any effect on the virus circulating,” he argued.

Video posted on social media showed restaurant clients cheering on the demonstrators.

President Emmanuel Macron has imposed a four-week nighttime curfew in the capital, which began on Saturday. Residents are banned from going outside between 9pm and 6am, which also means that iconic Parisian cafes, bars and restaurants must close early. Similar curfews were put into place in several other major cities, including Lyon, Lille, Toulouse and Marseille.

Macron argued that the curfew will help to “put a brake on the spread of the virus.”

France had been gradually relaxing lockdown measures since May, as the situation with Covid-19 was improving. However, the infection rate has surged again in recent months, prompting authorities to start bringing back some restrictions.

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