18.07.2021 – 18:25
Mass protests took place in several cities of France on Saturday for the second time in a week against the government’s new requirement for health certificate and mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers, reports Anadolu Agency (AA).
According to the estimates of the Ministry of Interior, about 114 thousand people took part in the protests.
Thousands of protesters marched in Paris, Marseille, Avignon and half a dozen other cities chanting “Freedom”, “Macron dictator”, “Macron resigns”, “No shame passport” and “Boycott health passport” .
In Lyon, police arrested nine demonstrators, while in Dijon they fired tear gas at protesters for disturbing public order. Hundreds of demonstrators took the expressway into the southeastern part of Chambery and blocked both directions of traffic for several hours.
In Lans-en-Vercors, in southeastern France, a vaccination center was looted and vandalized Saturday morning. Graphies against vaccination were written on the wall, La Dauphine news reported. Authorities vowed that those responsible would be prosecuted.
Elected representatives have also been threatened by anti-vaccine activists as Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin led local police to step up measures in their defense, BFMTV reported.
Protesters’ anger was centered on President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement this week about health, details of negative PCR / antigen tests and vaccinations for anyone 12 years and older that will be mandatory for all events and public places. of leisure and culture with the presence of 50 or more people. By August, the rule will extend to enclosed spaces such as restaurants, cafes, bars and public transport and over long distances.
The government has also made vaccines mandatory for health care workers and employees of institutions such as nursing homes, including fines for job loss and pay.
The new measures were introduced after the increase of cases with the Delta variant and the risk of a fourth wave in August. Authorities fear an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks if the herd’s immunity is not achieved and also plan to introduce the vaccination obligation for all by September if the goals are not achieved. So far, about 36.8 million people, over 50 percent of France’s population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
In the last 24 hours, France has registered 10,949 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 deaths, the second day in a row since the end of May when the daily cases exceeded the limit of 10 thousand.