Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

More than 100,000 people across France marched against the government’s plans to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine pass.

Protesters took to the streets across Western Europe in protest of COVID-19 vaccine requirements, with more than 100,000 people gathered in France alone to oppose what they called the government’s plans to uphold the rights of the unvaccinated restrict.

In the French capital, Paris, protesters – many of them unmasked – braved the cold and the rain on Saturday, with posters reading “Truth”, “Freedom” and “No to vaccine passes”.

Some also targeted President Emmanuel Macron, who caused a stir last week when he said he wanted to “piss” the unvaccinated by making their lives so complicated that they would eventually get stabbed.

Their protesters retaliated by adopting his language and chanting “We will make you angry”.

A person holds a sign that reads "Freedom" while people attend a rally to protest against a bill that would turn France's current COVID-19 health pass into a A person holds up a sign reading “Freedom” as people attend a rally to protest a bill that bans France’s current coronavirus (COVID-19) health pass in a “vaccine pass” in Paris, France, January 8 2022 will convert. REUTERS / Sarah Meyssonnier

The protests came when France on Friday recorded more than 300,000 COVID-19 infections in a single day and the country’s lower house on Thursday approved a government bill that would require individuals to prove they were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can eat out, travel on interstate trains or attend cultural events.

The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, though Senate lawmakers could delay the process now.

The French Interior Ministry said 105,200 people took part in Saturday’s protests across France, 18,000 of them in the capital Paris, where police lightly injured 10 arrests and three officers.

Elsewhere, there were 24 arrests and seven police officers were lightly injured, according to the ministry.

Among the larger protests, about 6,000 protesters showed up in Toulon, while police in Montpellier used tear gas during clashes with protesters.

More than 40,000 people also protested in the Austrian capital, Vienna, where vaccination against COVID-19 will become mandatory from next month.

Police said the demonstration was largely peaceful.

In Germany, protesters rallied in several cities on Saturday, with the biggest event being held in Hamburg, according to police, where about 16,000 people attended.

The demonstration was held under the banner “Enough! Hands off our children ”.

Protesters take part in a protest and hold banners that read "We are the red line, no compulsory vaccination, protect the children" and "Double vaccinated, lied several times!  Booster?  no thank you" in Düsseldorf, West Germany,Protesters take part in a rally holding banners reading “We are the red line, no compulsory vaccination, protect the children” and “Double vaccinated, lied several times! Booster? No thanks” in Düsseldorf, West Germany, at 18 December 2021 [Ina Fassbender/ AFP]
Italians gather to protest against compulsory vaccinations for people over 50 and stricter rules for the unvaccinated in Turin, ItalyItalians gather to protest against compulsory vaccinations for people over 50 and stricter rules for the unvaccinated in Turin, Italy, January 8, 2022 [Massimo Pinca/ Reuters]

Germany, what is consider imposed a general vaccine mandate, started offering COVID-19 steps to children between the ages of five and 11 last month

One protester wore a Star of David with the inscription “unvaccinated”, according to a police tweet. Officers added that they are investigating for incitement.

In Berlin, one coronavirus demonstration took the form of a car-and-bicycle convoy. Police counted more than 100 vehicles, 70 bicycles and about 200 people in general.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the arguments made by vaccine opponents and coronavirus deniers had lost all measure and focus.

“A small group is willing to wipe all scientific knowledge off the table and voluntarily introduce a bubble of false truths,” he said in comments to the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Demonstrations also took place in Italy, with hundreds of people in the city of Turin protesting against rules making vaccine mandatory for anyone over 50.

Stricter laws also apply to others – from Monday, those who have not been vaccinated will no longer be able to use public transport or visit restaurants.

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