Western Europe

French protesters oppose new possible COVID-19 bill

14:13, 25 July 2021
French protesters oppose new possible COVID-19 bill Photo: facebook.com/irina.kalatozishvili

Over 160,000 people, including far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement, went outdoors to protest against the bill, which requires anyone to have a special virus pass to get an opportunity of attending restaurants and obliges to vaccinate all health care workers.

Similar protests were erupting in contiguous Italy.

To prevent the growing chaos on the streets, police fired water cannons and tear gas on enraged protesters in Paris.

Legislators in France’s Senate were debating the virus-related bill on Saturday after the lower house of parliament endorsed it on Friday amid the rise of hospitalizations and rapid virus spread. It seems that the French government seeks to speed up the vaccination process to protect vulnerable people and hospitals from contagion, and avoid new possible lockdowns.

There are 44,4% of vaccinated people in France within 67 million of the population, according to Johns Hopkins University. The vaccinated citizens support the under-debate bill, those who aren't – disagree with that. 

Most of the protests are reported to be calm, but those, who were over-aggressive, were stopped by guards armed with tear gas. Later, aggression erupted at the Arc de Triomphe, where the protesters faced water cannons used by police.

French lawmakers are still concerned about how far they should go in imposing health passes or mandatory vaccinations amid the quick rise of infections. Statistically, France has lost over 111,000 people due to coronavirus infection and, currently, the country faces 20,000 new daily cases, which is not the worst toll since the virus has found its way into French territory.