Thousands of people marched in Paris and other French cities on Saturday for a fourth straight week of protests against the COVID-19 health passes that everyone in the country will soon need to enter cafes, restaurants and cafes. trains and other places.
The protests came two days after France’s Constitutional Council upheld most provisions of a new law that expands the locations where health cards are needed to enter.
From Monday, the pass will be mandatory in France to access cafes, restaurants, long-distance trips and, in some cases, hospitals. It was already in place for cultural and recreational venues, including cinemas, concert halls, sports arenas and theme parks with a capacity of over 50 people.
DISPLAY OF THE FRENCH POLICE WITH DEMONSTRATES OF THE ANTIVIRUS PASS IN PARIS
With French riot police on guard, a largely peaceful crowd walked through Paris with banners that read: “Our freedoms are dying” and “Vaccine: do not touch our children”. Some were also upset that the government had made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers by September 15.
Dozens of street protests also took place in other French cities, including Marseille, Nice and Lille. France’s interior ministry said there were 237,000 protesters across the country, including 17,000 in Paris.
Opponents say the virus passes restricts their mobility and implicitly makes vaccines mandatory.
Polls show, however, that most French people support health passes, which prove people are vaccinated, have had a recent negative test, or have recovered from COVID-19.
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Muriel, 55, a Parisian who refused to give her last name, told The Associated Press that she was particularly protesting “compulsory vaccination in disguise… it is an incredible blow to our fundamental freedoms”.
A separate protest organized by far-right politician Florian Philippot gathered thousands of people near the health ministry in central Paris. Many carried French flags and called for the resignation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
“You don’t have COVID here, but you have rabies! Philippot told the crowd, calling for a boycott of places requiring the pass.
In Reunion, a French territory in the Indian Ocean which is partially blocked amid an upsurge in infections, thousands of people have gathered to protest against the spread of the virus.
REOPENING OF THE EIFFEL TOWER; COVID PASS REQUIRED FROM NEXT WEEK
France records more than 21,000 new confirmed cases of the virus daily, a sharp increase compared to a month ago. More than 112,000 people with the virus in France have died since the start of the pandemic.
More than 36 million people in France, or around 54% of the population, are fully vaccinated. At least 7 million people have received their first vaccine since Macron announced the requirement for a health pass on July 12.
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An increasing number of European countries have implemented antivirus passes, each with different rules.
The Italian “Green Pass” came into effect on Friday. Denmark was the first to pass the vaccine with little resistance. In Austria, the pass is required to enter restaurants, theaters, hotels, sports facilities and hairdressers. In Germany, protests against anti-virus passes in Berlin last weekend resulted in violent clashes with police.