Far-right activists and members of the yellow-jacket movement were part of the rally in Paris against a health care bill.
Anti-vaccination protesters and other protesters against COVID-19 restrictions in France clashed with police in central Paris on Saturday, leading to anti-riot forces using tear gas, BTM Television reported.
Far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement were part of the rally in Paris against a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and other venues and COVID-19 vaccinations for all health workers to set up.
Outside Paris, protests are expected in cities such as Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse.
Heidi Larson, a professor of anthropology, risk and decision science at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Al Jazeera that the health pass ‘makes a lot of sense’.
“And ironically, for those who want their freedoms, the vaccine could allow different freedoms,” she said.
‘If you think about it, the option for this pass is that we close restaurants, and that we stop big events. We have to give somewhere if we want to get ahead of this virus, ”said Larson.
Gabriel Scally, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol, told Al Jazeera that there was nothing new about the opposition to the pandemic measures.
‘I think these rallies are relatively small. “Throughout the pandemic, we saw small groups of people taking to the streets to express their opposition to various things,” he said.
‘Some believe that the virus does not exist, and that COVID-19 does not exist. Some people think it’s a conspiracy by all sorts of people, including Bill Gates … ‘
“This is nothing new. There has been opposition to vaccines in history. It’s new and people are dealing with different issues. There is always a small group of people who are opposed to it. ‘
French health pass
French Senate lawmakers are discussing the bill on Saturday after the House of Representatives approved it on Friday.
French viral infections are on the rise and hospitalizations are on the rise again.
The government is trying to speed up vaccination to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals and avoid new closures.
Most French adults have been fully vaccinated and polls suggest a majority of French people support the new measures.
But not all. Protesters sing “Liberty! Freedom! ”Marched through Paris in one of several demonstrations planned for Saturday.
Last weekend, more than 100,000 people across France protested against the measures.
It included far-right politicians and activists, as well as others who were angry with President Emmanuel Macron for various reasons.
Remaining members of France’s yellow jacket movement, mainly from political extremes, are also using the virus bill to rekindle its flame.
The movement began in 2018 as a broad-based uprising against alleged economic injustice and led to months of protests marked by violence between protesters and police, but subsided after the French government addressed many of the protesters’ concerns.