French Doctors Are Requesting Workplace Security From Death Threats

PARIS — On Tuesday, French doctors and scientists called on authorities to take action against the insults and threats they have received often throughout the coronavirus outbreak, including death threats.

The physicians expressed their concern that someone from the realm of conspiracy theories might act against them, as well as other medical professionals, and criticized the authorities’ inaction.

“Some of us have been receiving death threats on a regular basis for months. Whether it’s through social media… Twitter, email, phone, or mail are all viable options. “We are targets,” said Jerome Marty, a physician and president of the UFMLS, a union for private-practice doctors.

Some physicians, like himself, receive threats “several times a day,” and some have hired bodyguards.

“What we’re afraid about aren’t so many personal threats,” Marty explained. “An anonymous doctor, an anonymous nurse, an anonymous scientist, the individuals struggling today in the face of the (COVID-19) problem… will be assailed by someone who takes action,” they say.

Medical experts were among those in the group, who frequently appears on television to explain the current condition of the epidemic to French citizens.

Threats were made, including one from a man in Toulouse who stated, “Listen, friend. The populace is becoming enraged… So slam the door on your huge trap. It’s as if you’re on the lookout for it.” “And the bullet in your brain that I’m going to plant, how are you going to stop it?” Tougher threatened one doctor who was not present on social media.

On a message to Karine Lacombe, the chief of infectious diseases at Paris’ Saint Antoine Hospital and a former frequent on news shows, vulgar remarks were scribbled. It said in part, “We’ve been watching you for a while: car, house, route, rubbish is destroyed.”

“What astounds me is the impunity with which the individuals who purposefully ignited the fuse benefit, to disrupt an established order, to disrupt what scientists say, and to cause the populace to sway,” Lacombe added. She was also taken aback by the fact that the messages are being spread on social media and at weekly anti-health-pass protests.

Every weekend, tens of thousands of people march in cities around France against the necessity for health cards to enter restaurants, cafés, and other meeting places, including some who reject COVID-19 vaccines.

The threats, according to Marty and others, come from people who are being “manipulated.” He estimated that a dozen to twenty persons are behind the threats, but. “We aren’t sleuths.”

In a Zoom call during the news conference, Damien Barraud, an anesthesiologist in Metz who denounces conspiracy theories tied to the virus on Twitter, claimed he received his first threat in April 2020.

However, “it’s intensifying now… becoming more serious.”lgnews-Requesting-Workplace-Security

Concerns about the threats intensified after an anonymous editorial published last month in France Soir, a newspaper that has given voice to COVID-19 skeptics, criticizing the medical establishment over the matter and identifying physicians and academics. The remark, which has subsequently been updated, ended with a mysterious allusion to “La Veuve” (The Widow), a term used to describe the guillotine in the past. For the group of physicians and scientists, it was the final straw.

Lacombe emphasized the necessity for the political class to “take a stand at some point and not assume that freedom of expression, which of course must be preserved in France, is condoning certain verbal and physical violence.”

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