ATHENS, July 14 (Reuters) – More than 5,000 anti-vaccine protesters, some of them waving Greek flags and wooden crosses, gathered in Athens on Wednesday to oppose Greece’s coronavirus vaccination program.
Shouting “take your shots and get out of here!” And calling on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign, the demonstrators gathered in front of the parliament under a heavy police presence.
Wednesday’s protest was the biggest protest in opposition to the vaccination campaign. A recent poll by Pulse for Skai TV found that most Greeks said they would get vaccinated, and the majority were in favor of compulsory vaccination for certain segments of the population.
About 41% of Greeks are fully vaccinated. On Monday, the government ordered mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers and nursing home staff following a sharp rise in new COVID-19 infections amid vital tourist season.
“Everyone has the right to choose. We choose that the government does not choose for us, ”said Faidon Vovolis, a cardiologist, who questioned scientific research around face masks and the vaccine and leads the“ Free Again ”movement, which called for the protest. . Vovolis said he launched the group in response to the government’s “strict measures” to contain the virus.
Protests are quite common in Greece and there have been several in recent months on issues ranging from a new labor law to Israel’s latest military campaign on Gaza.
A country of 11 million people, more than 444,700 people have been infected since the start of the pandemic and 12,782 have died. Authorities recorded nearly 3,000 new infections on Wednesday.
Report by Vassilis Triandafyllou and Alkis Konstantinidis Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Aurora Ellis
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