Thousands demonstrate in France against Covid ‘dictatorship’

Paris, Jul 17 (EFE).- Thousands of people demonstrated in large cities across France on Saturday against what they call a “health dictatorship” following the latest government regulations to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the measures is the mandatory vaccination of health workers and the requirement to have a Covid certificate (full vaccination or negative test) to gain access to a large number of public and social activities.

The new rules are due to be approved on Monday by the Council of Ministers, with the National Assembly debating the legislation two days later.

In Paris, a demonstration gathered in the area of the Place du Louvre and headed towards the Ministry of Health. Another rally was called in the capital by the small far-right Patriots party.

People wearing the yellow vests (‘gilets jaunes’) from the violent 2018-19 anti-government protests were visible at many demonstrations.

There were no incidents reported amid a heavy deployment of riot police in the capital.

The demonstrations followed those that took place on July 14, France’s national holiday, which brought together some 17,000 people.

“I understand the reluctant demonstrators, but I believe that we must convince, at all costs, all our fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” said French Prime Minister Jean Castex today during a trip to Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

“The line is clear: we must be vaccinated,” he insisted.

The new measures, announced by French President Emmanuel Macron on July 12, aim to boost vaccination rates to combat the spread of the delta variant, which already accounts for more than 67% of all new infections detected in France.

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