Police in Paris fired tear gas to disperse protesters last night, as 19,000 people across France protested against new coronavirus restrictions.
Some protests began in the morning in Paris as the annual military parade of the traditional Bastille Day parade, watched by President Emmanuel Macron, was taking place along the famous Champs-Elysees.
There was also a gathering outside the convention center in Dublin, where the government won Dale voted on the legislation It paves the way for the return of indoor dining for people who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.
Protesters in France are unhappy with the decision announced on Monday to require health workers to vaccinate and bring a health card for the vaccine to most public places.
People who are not immunized, for example, may need a negative test result to enter restaurants.
Since the announcement, a record number of French have booked appointments for Covid-19 jabs.
“This is in the name of freedom” was the message of some of the protesters.
In one area of the French capital, police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
The Police Directorate said in a tweet on Twitter that the declared protest route was not respected, denouncing the “throwing of projectiles” and setting fires by the demonstrators.
About 2,250 people protested across Paris, while other demonstrations were held in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nantes and other places. The French authorities estimated the total number of demonstrators at 19 thousand.
The Interior Ministry said there were a total of 53 different protests across France.
“Down with the dictatorship” and “Down with the health card,” the demonstrators chanted.
One of them, Jan Fontaine, a 29-year-old notary from the Berry region in central France, said he came to demonstrate in Paris arguing that imposing a health permit equates to “dismissal”.
“Macron is playing on fears, it’s disgusting. I know people who will be vaccinated now only so they can take their children to the cinema, not to protect others from dangerous forms of Covid.”
The French government yesterday defended its decision to impose Covid tests on unvaccinated people who want to eat in restaurants or take long trips, as the country looks to avoid a surge in the number of contagious delta cases.
“There is no obligation for the vaccine, that is the maximum incentive,” government spokesman Gabriel Atal said at the time.
“I find it hard to understand, in a country where there are already 11 mandatory vaccines… that can be considered a dictatorship,” he said, adding that after a year of studying vaccines, “the time for doubt is past.”
The rules will be relaxed for teens who have only been able to get their punches since mid-June – “making summer a hell of a hell” is out of the question, said Atal.
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According to an Elabe poll published yesterday, the new safety measures won a large majority among the French people.
About 35.5 million people – just over half of France’s population – have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far.
At the start of the pandemic, France had some of the highest levels of skepticism about vaccines in the developed world.
Meanwhile, about 4,000 people in Greece gathered yesterday evening in central Athens to protest against the new virus measures announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“We say no!” The demonstrators chanted “resignation” in protest of the measures taken against the unvaccinated.
They include a requirement for anyone who cares for seniors in a nursing home to be stabbed or lose their job.