August 22, 2021
The rallies began in mid-July after Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced a system that made presenting a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test obligatory for those willing to visit a restaurant, theater, cinema and shopping mall or travel on a long-distance train.
The authorities insist that the QR codes are needed to encourage people to get the jabs and avoid the fourth lockdown in the country, which saw some 6.6 million getting infected and over 113,000 dying due to the coronavirus.
More than 55% of the French population have been already fully vaccinated against Covid-19. But those who haven’t got the shot yet or are not planning to at all, claim that the health pass diminishes their rights and turns them into second-class citizens.
Around 14,700 opponents of the measure again protested in Paris on Saturday. The figure came from the police, but the organizers have accused law enforcement of deliberately downplaying the attendance at previous events.
Demonstrators were beating drums, carrying banners with the word “Liberté” (liberty) and chanting: “Macron! We don’t want your pass!”
The protest, which united groups with right- and left-wing views, went off without any serious incidents.
Rallies against the QR codes also took place in Montpellier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and elsewhere across France. There were some 220 demonstrations in various locations on Saturday, which were attended by 175,000 people, the police said.