Anti-health protest in Paris
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Hundreds and thousands of protesters took to the streets of Paris to once again demand the end of vaccine passports, or the “Pass Sanitaire”, as a requirement for travel and entry to hospitality venues. Armoured French police armed with shields stood ahead of crowds of protesters in an attempt to slow and control their movements around the capital as violence broke out once again between demonstrators and police. French authorities said around 200,000 people protested the passports last weekend with some suggesting this weekend’s figures to be much higher.
French President Emmanuel Macron has shown no signs of easing up the restrictions with the Pass Sanitaire seeing further rules implemented over the coming weeks.
At first, venues like cinemas, museums and other crowded indoor venues required proof of vaccination or a negative test to gain entry.
This was extended to hospitality venues on August 9 with French police actively enforcing the rules by visiting random restaurants and checking documentation.
Those travelling long-distance by bus or train are also required to prove vaccination or a negative test unless it is a medical emergency.
But from August 30, those who work in industries where they have a public-facing role is required to have the pass or will face suspension without pay.
The end of free PCR tests was also introduced to urge people to get the vaccine rather than continually test themselves.
Police attempted to control large crowds by using shields and lines of police to direct them around the capital.
However, footage showed police quickly struggled and had to resort to using tear gas to disperse crowds.
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Protesters responded by throwing bottles and other projectiles at them as they continued singing and chanting against vaccine passports.
Protesters set up tables in Place de la RépubliqueParis stacked with food in opposition to the passports being needed for hospitality venues.
Called “The Wild Terrace”, people bring back food to the tables where anyone can help themselves and sit on the streets without needing to check in at a nearby venue.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran wrote to health workers who have seen violence directed their way.
The French Health Ministry claims 22 health sites, including 15 vaccine centres, have been targeted and vandalised by protesters.
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Mr Veran wrote: “I will not accept any violence, intimidation, attack on their physical integrity or their professional tools.
“In recent weeks… several of our professionals have been cowardly attacked for doing their job.
“To attack our health professionals is to attack the nation.”
Protests against the vaccine passports have been going on since Bastille Day on July 14 when new plans were announced.
Towards the end of July, protesters stormed a government building in Poitiers and ripped up a portrait of Emmanuel Macron.
Despite the backlash, over two million appointments were booked in the 48-hours after Mr Macron’s announcement with the French health portal being temporarily taken down due to the influx in traffic.
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