More than 100,000 people marched across France against the government’s plan to introduce a pass for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Protesters took to the streets of Western Europe to protest against COVID-19 vaccine requirements, with more than 100,000 people rallying in France alone to oppose what they called the government’s plans aimed at restricting the rights of the unvaccinated.
In the French capital, Paris, demonstrators – many unmasked – braved the cold and the rain on Saturday, carrying signs bearing the words “Truth”, “Freedom” and “No to the vaccine pass”.
Some have also targeted President Emmanuel Macron, who sparked an uproar last week when he said he wanted to “fuck” the unvaccinated by making their lives so complicated that they would eventually kill themselves. prick.
The demonstrators responded by adopting his language, chanting “We’ll p *** you off”.
The protests came as France recorded more than 300,000 COVID-19 infections in a single day on Friday and the country’s lower house on Thursday approved a government bill that will require individuals to prove they are completely vaccinated against the coronavirus before being able to eat out, travel on intercity trains or attend cultural events.
The government has said it expects the new requirements to be implemented by January 15, although Senate lawmakers can now delay the process.
France’s interior ministry said 105,200 people took part in Saturday’s protests across France, including 18,000 in the capital Paris, where police reported 10 arrests and three police officers lightly injured.
Elsewhere, there were 24 arrests and seven police officers slightly injured according to the ministry.
Among the largest protests, around 6,000 protesters gathered in Toulon, while in Montpellier, police used tear gas in clashes with protesters.
More than 40,000 people also demonstrated in the Austrian capital, Vienna, where vaccination against COVID-19 is expected to become mandatory from next month.
Police said the protest was largely peaceful.
In Germany, demonstrators gathered in several cities on Saturday, the largest event having taken place in Hamburg, attended by some 16,000 people, according to police.
The demonstration took place under the banner “Enough! Hands off our children ”.
Germany, which plans to impose a general vaccination mandate, started offering COVID-19 vaccines to children aged five to 11 last month
One protester wore a Star of David with the inscription “unvaccinated,” according to a tweet from police. Officers added they were investigating incitement.
In Berlin, a protest against the coronavirus took the form of a convoy of cars and bicycles. Police counted more than 100 vehicles, 70 bicycles and around 200 people in total.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said arguments put forward by vaccination opponents and coronavirus deniers had lost all measure and focus.
“A small group is ready to wipe all scientific knowledge off the table and willingly enter a bubble of false truths,” he said in comments to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Demonstrations were also held in Italy, with hundreds of people in the city of Turin protesting against rules that make vaccines mandatory for anyone over 50.
Stricter laws are also coming into force for others – from Monday, those who are not vaccinated can no longer use public transport or go to restaurants.