Far-right activists and members of the Yellow Vest movement participated in a rally in Paris against the health pass bill.
According to BTM TV, French protesters against vaccination and other protesters against COVID-19 restrictions clashed with the police in central Paris on Saturday, resulting in the use of tear gas by anti-riot forces.
Far-right activists and members of the French Yellow Vest Movement participated in a rally in Paris to oppose a bill that requires everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and other venues, and mandatory requirements for all medical staff Get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Outside Paris, protests are expected in cities such as Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse.
Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision sciences in the Department of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Al Jazeera that the health pass was “meaningful”.
“The irony is that for those who want freedom, vaccines can allow different freedoms,” she said.
“Think about it, the option for this pass is that we close restaurants and stop large gatherings. If we want to stay ahead of this virus, we have to contribute somewhere,” Larsen said.
Gabriel Scully, visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol, told Al Jazeera that there is nothing new about opposing pandemic measures.
“I think these backlashes are relatively small. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a small group of people take to the streets to express their opposition to various things,” he said.
“Some people think that the virus does not exist, and that COVID-19 does not exist. Some people think that this is a conspiracy of various people including Bill Gates…”
“This is nothing new. People have always opposed vaccines in history. This is new, and people are dealing with various issues. There is always a small number of people opposed.”
French Health Pass
After approval by the House of Commons on Friday, lawmakers in the French Senate will debate the bill on Saturday.
The number of virus infections in France has surged, and the number of hospitalizations has risen again.
The government is working hard to speed up vaccination rates to protect vulnerable groups and hospitals and avoid new lockdowns.
Most French adults have been fully vaccinated, and opinion polls show that most French people support the new measures.
But not everyone. Protesters chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” marching through Paris in one of the multiple demonstrations planned on Saturday.
Over the weekend, more than 100,000 people across France protested these measures.
They include far-right politicians and activists, and others who are angry with President Emmanuel Macron for various reasons.
The remaining members of the French yellow vest movement, mainly political extremists, are also using the virus bill to try to reignite its flames.
The movement started in 2018 when it was a widespread uprising against economic injustice and led to months of protests characterized by violence between demonstrators and the police, but the French government addressed the concerns of many protesters After calm down.