French protests multiply against extended health card program

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Thousands of people have demonstrated in Paris and other French cities against a compulsory coronavirus health pass for entry into many public places, introduced by the government as it fights a fourth wave of infections .

Protesters injured three police officers in Paris, a police spokesperson said. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that 19 demonstrators had been arrested, including 10 in Paris.

It was the third weekend in a row that people opposed to President Emmanuel Macron’s new Covid-19 measures took to the streets.

The number of demonstrators has grown steadily since the start of the demonstrations, echoing the movement of “yellow vests” which began at the end of 2018 against taxes on fuel and the cost of living.

An Interior Ministry official said 204,090 protested across France, including 14,250 in Paris. This is about 40,000 more than last week.

“We are creating a segregated society and I think it’s amazing to do this in the land of human rights,” said Anne, a teacher who was protesting in Paris. She refused to give her last name.

“So I took to the street; I have never protested in my life, ”she added. “I think our freedom is in danger.

Visitors to museums, cinemas or swimming pools are already refused entry if they cannot produce the health passport certifying that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or that they have had a recent negative test.

Parliament this week approved a new law that will make vaccinations mandatory for health workers and extend the health pass requirement to bars, restaurants, trade shows, trains and hospitals.

Around 3,000 police officers were deployed in the capital, with riot control agents trying to keep protesters on authorized routes.

Authorities sought to avoid a repeat of events last week, when clashes between police and protesters broke out on the Champs-Élysées.

Protesters were also out in other cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse, shouting “Freedom! and “No to the health pass!

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