Macron said earlier this week that all healthcare workers were to be fully immunized by September 15 or would be suspended without pay. In addition, he said all residents must start using a health pass showing proof that they have been vaccinated, had a recent negative test or were recovering from COVID-19 before going to certain public places. such as shopping malls, restaurants and airplanes.
Protesters marched through the cities of Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille and elsewhere, and some argued that the government was encroaching on their ability to choose whether they wanted to be vaccinated, Reuters noted.
According to data from the World Health Organization, France had 3,616 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday and reached a particularly high number of cases on Thursday, with 8,748 confirmed cases. The country last saw less than a thousand cases on July 6, although COVID-19 cases were more likely to increase in early July.
As of Friday, 55% of French people had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 44% had received both doses, Reuters reported.
Saturday’s protests come after protesters on Wednesday, coinciding with Bastille Day in France, set backhoes on fire and knocked over trash cans, prompting police to use tear gas, Reuters reported.
Greece announced similar measures on Monday, saying health workers would be suspended if they did not get vaccinated, the Associated Press reported. Starting August 16, nursing home staff will be suspended if they have not made an appointment to be vaccinated. Hospital staff will face a similar dilemma in September.
The move in Greece also sparked protests earlier this week, Reuters reported.