Freedom lovers in France are protesting the recently announced digital COVID passport program to gain access to malls, cinemas, bars, and restaurants and more.
President Emanuel Macron’s government announced the controversial new rules this week.
But residents are opposing the new rules, especially the one requiring them to prove their COVID-19 status with an app to access entertainment venues.
There were multiple protests in French cities, including Paris, Marseille, and Montpellier. In Paris, Police clashed with protesters, firing tear gas on several occasions. Some groups of protesters were seen overturning garbage cans. Another group set a mechanical digger on fire. Some more peaceful protesters wore badges reading “No to health pass.”
Critics of the “health pass” mandate accuse the government of disregarding people’s freedoms, noting the requirement would discriminate against those who are opposed to getting vaccinated.
According to Macron, vaccines are the only way the country will get back to normalcy. His new rules are stricter than measures taken by other countries in Europe, which are also facing new waves of cases, mostly from the delta variant.
According to reports by French media, the new rules also include a compulsory 10-day quarantine for people who test positive, which will be enforced through random police checks.
The protests took place on Bastille Day, a commemoration of the day the medieval fortress in Paris was stormed in 1789, marking the beginning of democracy in France.