Protesters against the Macron government vaccine passes in Paris, France chant “down with the dictatorship”.
Thousands of protesters take to the streets in cities all across France following Macron’s announcement that a health pass will be required in “bars, restaurants, amusement parks, shopping centers, trains, coaches and planes.”
People in France have taken to the streets to protest against the government’s decision to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for health workers and to introduce a health pass to access bars and restaurants.
Protests took place across France on Wednesday with heated clashes erupting with police in Paris. A number of groups, including those associated with the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement, announced their intention to hold demonstrations across the country on Tuesday following the government’s announcement of compulsory vaccinations for health workers and the introduction of a national Covid-19 passport.
In Paris, eyewitness footage captured people fleeing from tear gas as police were deployed in sizable numbers to break up the demonstrations. Major city arteries could be seen blocked by protesters and police. In one instance, a canister of tear gas landed near a restaurant terrace, causing diners to scarper inside
Some of the protesters adopted unusual garb as part of their demonstrations, including one participant who dressed as Jesus and bore a large cross for the march.
Wednesday’s protests occurred as the country celebrates Bastille Day, commemorating the storming of the medieval armory, fortress, and political prison during the French Revolution. Festivities and the usual parade have been overshadowed by the protests, as well as being dampened by poor weather.
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Some critics of Macron’s plan – which will require shopping malls, cafes, bars, and restaurants to check the health passes of all patrons from August – accuse the president of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against those who do not want the COVID shot.
“It’s totally arbitrary and wholly undemocratic,” said one protester who identified himself as Jean-Louis.
On Monday evening, President Emmanuel Macron announced that vaccines would become mandatory for healthcare workers in France from September 15. Those who have not been fully vaccinated by this date losing their jobs.
Macron also announced that the authorities would launch a health pass, proving that the holder has either tested negative, is fully vaccinated, or recently recovered from Covid-19. The pass will go live in August and will be used to verify the status of entry to bars, restaurants, cafes, and shopping centers.