Last Saturday saw 161,000 protesters take to the streets and 110,000 the week before to protest against France’s decision to greatly extend the use of the health pass and introduce compulsory vaccination for some professions.
Four demonstrations were planned for Paris, one of which left the Villiers metro station late Saturday morning.
Before the procession set off, one member of the populist ‘Gilet Jaunes’ protest movement berated “the members of the government, the members of the media who are there to sell you the efficacy of vaccines without even having any proof,” saying he felt “demonised”, French daily Le Monde reported.
By mid-afternoon, “over 10,000 people” were taking part, the paper’s reporter estimated.
Another demonstration, called by Florian Philipot, the former second-in-command of France’s National Front party, set off from near Montparnasse station towards the Ministry of Health.
Several demonstrators — most of whom were unmasked — sported red, white and blue flags, while one wore a ripped up European flag, Le Monde reported.
However, the paper said the demonstration was uneventful and some 1,000 to 2,000 people took part.
In the South of France, police said 8,500 people protested in Montpellier and 6,500 in Nice, some 500 more than the previous week.
In Marseille, police used tear gas to prevent protesters from getting too close to the police headquarters in the city, an AFP reporter said.
And, in Strasbourg, police said 3,200 people were taking part in protests in the city centre, but reported no problems.
Protesters also gathered in the La Réunion despite the partial weekend lockdown in place in the French overseas territory, which is facing a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases.
Of those who support them, 65 percent justified this by opting for the response “not liking what you have to do being forced on you/feeling you don’t have the choice”.
According to another poll from 16th July, this time by Ipsos-Sopra Steria for FranceInfo and Le Parisien, 62 percent of French people at that time said they were favourable to the implementation of the health pass to enter public places and 69 percent supported compulsory vaccination for health care workers.
Extension planned for August 9th
The health pass was definitively adopted last Sunday evening after six days of heated debates.