Thousands of people across France took to the streets on Saturday for the third weekend in a row to protest the country’s vaccine passports, with some demonstrations turning violent in the capital.
French lawmakers have passed a bill requiring citizens to present proof of vaccination before entering restaurants and other venues.
The so-called COVID-19 “green pass” is set to be introduced in most of the country on Aug. 9, according to The Associated Press.
Anti-vaccine passport protesters have gathered across France in increasingly large numbers.
Using the slogan “liberty,” an estimated 204,000 people nationwide took part in Saturday’s protests, including 14,250 in Paris.
While most of the protests were peaceful, videos posted online showed some clashes with riot police.
Officers used tear gas and a water cannon against violent crowds in Paris, according to the AP. Three officers were reportedly injured.
📹| French police clash with Covid health pass protesters
▪️Some 3,000 security forces have deployed around the French capital for a third weekend of protests.
▪️French police have difficulty in containing crowds marching through Paris.#PassSanitaire #France #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/C5Za0UWE0l
— EHA News (@eha_news) July 31, 2021
French police violently fought with demonstrators and fired tear gas as thousands gathered to protest President Macron’s push for a Covid-19 vaccine pass pic.twitter.com/Z4288eM2mc
— TRT World (@trtworld) July 31, 2021
— Anonyme Citoyen (@AnonymeCitoyen) July 31, 2021
— Florian Philippot (@f_philippot) July 31, 2021
Francois Asselineau, the leader of a small French political party, called on people to oppose the “absurd, unjust and totally liberty-killing” vaccine passports in a video on the party’s website.
One protester, who recently resigned from her job as a nurse, called the vaccine pass a form of government blackmail.
“I think that we mustn’t be told what to do,” the unnamed woman said.
“And now, suddenly we are told that if we don’t get vaccinated it is our fault that people are contaminated. I think it is sickening.”
All French health care workers will be required to receive the vaccine by mid-September.
The AP reported that a majority of French citizens support the vaccine passport. More than half of the French people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.