Thousands Protest French COVID Vaccine Pass | Coronavirus Pandemic News

As parliament continues to debate the draft bill, protesters have taken to the streets of French cities to oppose a law that would impose stricter restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Thousands of people took part in demonstrations on Saturday, bringing together a variety of different political groups. In the capital Paris, the largest single rally took place near the Eiffel Tower, where anti-EU presidential candidate Florian Philippot staged a protest.

Other protests date back to the 2018-19 “yellow vest” movement against President Emmanuel Macron’s planned economic reforms, with further rallies held in big cities such as Bordeaux, Toulouse and Lille.

People in the crowd chanted ‘no to vaccines’ or ‘freedom for Djokovic’, grabbing the case of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is against the Australian government Unvaccinated at the Grand Slam Australian Open.

“Novak is our flag-bearer at the moment,” Pascal, a protester, told AFP in Bordeaux.

He marched with parents with children at a tennis club in the western city where he said coaches could lose their jobs for refusing vaccinations.

In Paris, demonstrators held French and regional flags that read “It’s not the virus they want to control, it’s you.”

Two demonstrators, Lawrence and Claire, told AFP they were vaccinated, “but we are against youth passes, we don’t understand why they should be vaccinated because they are not at risk”.

While officials had not released national turnout estimates by late afternoon, police or local authorities counted about 1,000 people each in Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux and Marseille.

Demonstrators hope to surpass the 105,000 people who took to the streets last weekend, some of whom may have been because Macron announced in a newspaper interview that he wanted to “knock out” the unvaccinated with new restrictions until they get a coronavirus shot .

In the early hours of Saturday, members of the National Assembly approved the vaccine passage bill in the upper house. The Senate is likely to finally pass the bill on Sunday after back and forth between the two chambers over issues such as the minimum age for passes and whether owners should be empowered to check customer identities.

People take part in a demonstration called by French nationalist parties "patriot" (Patriots), protesting a plan to convert France's current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health pass to "Vaccine Pass", at the Trocadero square in Paris, FrancePeople take part in a demonstration by the French nationalist party Patriot (Patriot) at the Trocadero square in Paris, France [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

“Vaccine Pass”

In a first step, a measure came into effect on Saturday that would suspend the government’s “health pass” for tens of thousands of people who did not receive a booster shot within seven months of their first shot.

The pass, which allows access to public spaces such as bars and restaurants, will be transformed into a “vaccination pass”, which means proof of vaccinations, under laws currently being debated in parliament.

So far, people have been able to keep their passes valid if they have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Juan Fernandez, 32, told AFP that the stabbing was “urgent” immediately after the shooting on Saturday morning. “I need a health certificate every time I go out, that’s the main reason I do it.”

Tougher measures have been taken as the government faces a wave of infections. Omicron variant that spreads faster.

Protests in Austria

Meanwhile, in the Austrian capital Vienna, the government’s plan to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone next month came under fresh pressure, as thousands of protesters took to the streets to rally against the move.

“Government must go!” the crowd chanted at a rally in central Vienna that became a Saturday routine. Parliament is scheduled to vote next week on the issue, which has polarized the country as coronavirus cases surge.

A poll by Profil magazine found that 51% of respondents oppose mandatory vaccinations starting in February, with 34% opposing mandatory vaccinations overall and 17% wanting to wait. The survey found that 45% of Austrians favour mandatory vaccinations from February.