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Greece: Petrol bombs, tear gas, and water cannon at rally against COVID-19 vaccinations

Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse a protest of several thousand in central Athens on Saturday (July 24) against COVID-19 vaccinations, the third rally in recent weeks.

More than 4,000 people marched to the Greek parliament holding a large banner reading, “Freedom”.

“This is not an anti-vaccine movement, these are people that have thought about it and want their freedom,” said Faidon Vovolis, leader of the Free Again movement which organized the protest.

Groups of protesters fired petrol bombs at riot police when the rally reached parliament, who responded with volleys of tear gas and water cannon. Some protesters were detained. A garbage bin was lit on fire.

The demonstration was the third in ten days, prompted by a government decision to impose mandatory inoculations for health care workers and nursing home staff.

The government has also urged teachers to be vaccinated in time for the start of the school year in September.

A previous rally on Wednesday was also marred by violence, with protesters scuffling with police.

Recent polls show the majority of Greeks would get the shot against COVID-19, which has claimed 12,890 lives in Greece since the pandemic broke out last year. About 45% of a population of 11 million are fully vaccinated.

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