Protests against COVID-19 health pass held across France for 4th consecutive week

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Thousands of people are expected to march in Paris and other French cities during a fourth consecutive week of protests against the COVID-19 health pass.

Marches are expected in about 150 cities. Some 204,000 people protested last weekend and authorities believe similar numbers should be observed this Saturday.

The demonstrations come just two days before the use of the health pass — attesting that the holder has either been fully vaccinated, has recently tested negative or has recovered from the disease — is extended to bars, restaurants and long-distance public transport.

The health pass is already required to visit cultural and leisure venues with capacity of more than 50 people.

France’s Constitutional Council approved the extension on Thursday.

Over the previous three weeks, protesters chanted “No to the health pass” and”freedom”. They argue that the pass restricts their freedoms and that the government is forcing people to get vaccinated.

Some demonstrators are also protesting the government making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for health care workers by Sept. 15.

More than 79% of French adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 68% are fully inoculated.

At least 7 million people have gotten their first vaccine shot since President Emmanuel Macron announced the roll-out of the health pass on July 12.

France is registering over 21,000 new confirmed virus cases daily, a steep climb from one month ago. More than 112,000 people with the virus have died in the country since the start of the pandemic.

A growing number of European countries have started implemented virus pass requirements, each with slightly different rules.

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Protests have been held last month in neighbouring Italy against a pass to access indoor dining, gyms, theaters, cinemas and other gathering places. The so-called “Green Pass” entered into force on Friday.

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