Paris police used tear gas and arrested protestors to disperse them. Many of the demonstrators were skeptical of vaccines.
Some protests started as early as Wednesday morning, when the annual military parade for Bastille Day, which President Emmanuel Macron was watching, was taking place on the Champs-Elysees.
Protests continued into Wednesday night with video clips of protesters being posted to social media. They also attempted to fire fireworks at police officers.
Many demonstrators are unmasked and unhappy about Monday’s announcement to require health workers to be vaccinated. People must also show a vaccination health pass in order to enter most public places. The negative test results of those who have not been vaccinated will be required.
An unprecedented number of French citizens booked appointments for COVID-19 jabs after the announcement.
Some protestors said, “This is in defense of freedom.”
One area in the French capital was occupied by police who used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
According to the prefecture, police stated in a tweet that the route declared was not followed, and condemned the “throwing projectiles” and “lighting of fires” by protesters.
Around 2,250 protestors marched in Paris, while others took place in Toulouse and Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nantes, and other places. According to French authorities, the number of protesters was 19,000.
According to the interior ministry, there were 53 protests in France.
Protesters shouted “Down With the Health Pass” and “Down With The dictatorship”.
Yann Fontaine (a 29-year old notary’s clerk hailing from central France’s Berry region) said that he came to Paris to protest against the health pass.
“Macron plays with fears. It’s revolting. He said that he knows people who will get vaccinated to go to the movies with their children, and not to protect them from serious COVID.
Gabriel Attal, a government spokesperson, stated that “there isn’t any vaccine obligation. This is maximum inducement.”
“I find it difficult to understand, in a country that 11 vaccines have been mandatory…that this could be considered a dictatorship,” he stated, adding that the time of doubting was long gone after spending a year studying vaccines.
Teenagers who have been able to get jabs since mid June will see the rules relaxed. Attal stated that “Making summer hell” is not an option.
A poll by Elabe published Tuesday showed that a majority of French people approve the new safety measures.