Protesters marched in cities across France on Saturday (August 7) in a fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations, denouncing what they see as oppressive rules compelling health workers to get COVID-19 shots and citizens to have a health pass for many daily activities.
Protesters rallied through the streets of Paris, Nice, Montpellier and other towns.
The protests have united a disparate group against President Emmanuel Macron’s legislation, which is meant to help contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections spreading across France and help safeguard the country’s economic recovery.
Among the protesters are hard-left anarchists and far-right militants, remnants of the anti-government “yellow vest” movement that shook Macron’s leadership during 2018-2019, and also other citizens who are anti-vaccine or consider the health pass to be discriminatory.
Vaccination rates jumped after Macron unveiled his health pass plans last month. Two thirds of all French people have now received one dose and 55% are fully vaccinated.
From Monday (August 9), people will have to show a health pass to eat in a restaurant, access non-emergency treatment in a hospital or travel on an intercity train. They are already needed to access swimming pools, museums and nightclubs. Health employees have until Sept. 15 to get their vaccinations or face suspension.
In the northern town of Cambrai, nearly every restaurant and cafe closed their doors to protest against the health pass requirements.