Thousands of protesters pack Paris streets in defiance of COVID-19 vaccine passport: ‘Our freedoms are dying’

Thousands of people marched in Paris and other French cities Saturday for a fourth consecutive week of protests against the COVID-19 health passes that everyone in the country will need shortly to enter cafes, trains and other venues.

The demonstrations came two days after France’s Constitutional Council upheld most provisions of a new law that expands the locations where health passes are needed to enter.

Starting Monday, the pass will be required in France to access cafes, restaurants, long-distance travel 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 for more than 50 people.

With French riot police on guard, a largely peaceful crowd walked across Paris carrying banners that read: “Our freedoms are dying” and “Vaccine: Don’t touch our kids.” Some were also upset that the government has made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for health care workers by Sept. 15.

Dozens of street protests took place in other French cities as well, including Marseille, Nice and Lille. The French Interior ministry said there were 237,000 protesters nationwide, including 17,000 in Paris.

Opponents say the virus pass limits their mobility and implicitly renders vaccines obligatory.

Polls, however, show that most people in France support the health passes, which prove that people are vaccinated, have had a negative recent test or have recovered from COVID-19. – READ MORE