France: Protests continue against covid health pass policy
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Demonstrators were beaten back with truncheons, fired at with tear gas and doused in pepper spray by French security as violence spilled over in Paris and regional centres across the country.
In one video on social media, riot police can be seen furiously grappling with demonstrators in Paris as droves of protesters attempt to fight back the police.
While in one shocking moment a policeman can be seen smacking an unarmed protester over the head with a truncheon.
Protesters, mostly dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, scream slogans as they demand the health passport is removed from public life.
While another video shows tear gas grenades fired down the streets at protesters in the Medieval town of Vannes, north-west France, as they take a stand against the Coronavirus health passport.
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Protesters can be seen running from the billowing CS gas clouds as they cough and splutter as the gas takes hold.
Demonstrators wearing yellow high-vis vests, reminiscent of the Gilet Jaunes protests, were also out in force in the town.
The protests come as the French government announced on Wednesday that it would be extending the requirement for a health pass to access most public spaces until July 31, 2022.
The pass is required for anyone wanting to travel on long-distance transport or get into venues such as restaurants, cafés, bars, cinemas, museums and sports stadiums.
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The pass consists of a QR code proving either that someone has been fully jabbed, has recovered from Covid-19 in the previous six months, or has received a negative result from a PCR or antigen test in the previous 48-hours.
The extension comes as citizens will now have to pay for Coronavirus tests from Thursday if they have not been vaccinated.
National Rally leader Marine Le Pen slammed the pass as “a backward step for individual freedoms”.
While far-left presidential candidate and ‘Unbowed’ leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon slammed the passes as an “abuse of power”.
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Despite the backlash French polls suggest that around two-thirds of the population support President Macron’s health pass.
The pass has also triggered an uptick in takeup of the vaccine: More than a million citizens made a vaccine appointment within 24-hours after President Macron announced that a health pass would soon be required for public venues.
While almost 10 million people got a first dose over the subsequent month.
When Macron first unveiled the health pass, only 54 percent of the French population had received one dose. That figure now stands at 75 percent.
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