France: Anti-health pass protests continue in Paris
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Nearly 200 protests are taking place across France today in a coordinated pushback against Emmanuel Macron’s government. Protesters have taken to the streets in major French cities, including the capital Paris, for the ninth consecutive weekly protest against the ‘health pass’. However, the protests have quickly turned violent in the French capital, where clashes have been filmed.
Police were seen using their batons to hit protesters while other officers fired off tear gas to disperse the march.
One police officer is understood to be injured after being struck with a firework.
Another person posted a photo of a bloodied protester, tweeting: “A man is bleeding after being beaten to the head with a baton.”
A protester at the scene tweeted: “It’s a showdown between protestors and police during the Covid-19 anti-pass protest in Paris, Place Wagram.”
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Another tweeted: “Police are slowly backing down. Tension is really high.”
One reporter posted: “A large police deployment around the avenue Wagram and some demonstrators were repulsed with tear gas.”
Others noted that police searched the belongings of protesters as they made their way to the march.
Chants of ‘Freedom’ were heard as the protest started at Place Wagram.
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This weekend’s protest takes place just days before a law mandating vaccines for hospital staff goes into effect.
Authorities expect around 170,000 demonstrators throughout France, including 30,000 in Paris – a jump in numbers compared to previous weeks.
The Interior Ministry counted 140,000 demonstrators last Saturday and 165,000 the previous week.
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Despite the anger on the streets, recent polling suggests a majority of French citizens support the health pass.
France imposed the pass to put more pressure on people to get vaccinated.
The country has recently seen cases surge across southern regions, where vaccination rates are lagging behind the national average
US President Joe Biden is understood to have been influenced by the French vaccination effort, as he unveiled plans this week to take a tougher line on vaccine mandates.
A new federal employee mandate will cover 80 million workers at large businesses and 17 million health workers across the US.
This will see businesses with more than 100 employees require either vaccination or weekly testing.
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