Demonstrators Clash With Police in Paris as French Protest Against COVID-19 Passes - Videos
12:51 GMT 24.07.2021 (Updated: 18:05 GMT 24.07.2021)
© SputnikDemonstrators Clash With Police as French Protest Against COVID-19 Passes
Earlier this month, the French president announced a series of new restrictions, most notably an introduction of a special "health pass" required for visiting public places.
The demonstrations against a bill requiring the French people to have a special COVID-19 pass to enter public venues - including restaurants and theatres - gripped the country on Saturday, with protests in Paris descending into skirmishes with police.
The Paris authorities have given a green light to separate demonstrations, including a march that started at Bastille Plaza and proceeded through eastern Paris and a gathering that spanned across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower. The latter was initiated by Florian Philippot, the founder of the Patriots party and a former National Rally member.
The demonstrators were marching with French flags and placards reading "Freedom", a Sputnik correspondent reported from the French capital. While the protests remained largely peaceful, tensions erupted on the margins of the Bastille rally, with a demonstrator throwing a chair at a police officer. The riot police responded with tear gas.
— Florian Philippot (@f_philippot) July 24, 2021
The protests have also hit Marseille, France's second largest city, national media reported, saying that the demonstrators were singing the national anthem and chanting "Freedom."
— Taha Bouhafs 🙋🏽♂️ (@T_Bouhafs) July 24, 2021
The demonstrations were also reported in other cities, including Nice, Dunkirk, Perpignan and Narbonne, as well as Reunion, an overseas French territory.
— Anonyme Citoyen (@AnonymeCitoyen) July 24, 2021
The rallies hit the nation as the French senators were discussing the controversial bill on Saturday, a day after the lower house of parliament approved it to stem the rising number of new coronavirus cases.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a series of new restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.
From Wednesday, 21 July, people visiting museums, theatres, cinemas, festivals, concerts, and amusement parks are required to have a health pass confirming that its holder has either been vaccinated or is COVID-negative. Additionally, the French president has introduced mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers.
Starting August, restaurants, bars, shopping centers, airplanes and long-distance trains will also require passes.
The new restrictions triggered a wave of protests that swept across France last weekend. Another rally is scheduled for Sunday.