Amid the continuous surge of coronavirus cases worldwide, thousands of people are protesting against official restrictions and mandates aimed at curbing the spread of the infection.
In France, thousands of demonstrators are calling out against the government's mandatory COVID-19 health passes that would be required to enter public areas including cafes, trains, and other venues.
Worldwide Protests Against COVID-19 Mandates
The protests marked the fourth consecutive week as of Saturday that residents in Paris and other French cities are criticizing President Emmanuel Macron's decisions. The incident came only two days after France's Constitutional Council continued to implement most of the provisions included in a new law that expands the areas where residents need health passes to enter.
While already being in place to require health passes in cultural and recreational venues, the law will also require the documents for cafes, restaurants, long-distance travel, and, in some cases, hospitals, beginning on Monday, Fox News reported.
Protesters marched the streets of Paris, carrying banners that read: "Our freedoms are dying" and "Vaccine: Don't touch our kids" as French riot police stood guard. Many people were also disappointed in the government's choice to require coronavirus vaccines for healthcare workers by September 15.
The French Interior Ministry reported that about 237,000 protesters nationwide joined the demonstrations. 17,000 of which were in Paris. Political oppositions said the mandatory COVID-19 health passes limited their mobility and implicitly rendered vaccines obligatory.
However, polls showed that the majority of the residents in France supported the mandatory health passes, which are proof of a person's inoculation, recent negative test, or recovery from the infection. One protester, 55-year-old Muriel said she especially protests against "the disguised mandatory vaccination" saying, "It's an incredible blow to our fundamental freedoms."
Thousands of Protesters
The incident comes after last month where 100,000 residents protested against the government's push to get more people vaccinated. Demonstrators brought metal spoons and banned them on saucepans while yelling "freedom" and "Macron, clear off!" near the Louvre Museum. One 53-year-old protester also said that they would never get vaccinated, Yahoo News reported.
Similarly, in Sydney, people protested in the streets after Australian officials implemented lockdown restrictions. Some protesters were arrested by police for allegedly throwing plastic bottles and potted plants at police officers.
French officials decided to implement the expansion of the mandatory COVID-19 health pass as the country enters a "fourth wave" of coronavirus infections. President Macron hoped that the legislation would encourage residents to get vaccinated to curb the spread of the infection.
From April to June, France recorded a largely downward trend to its recorded coronavirus cases. However, in mid-July, the numbers skyrocketed, bringing the total death count to 112,000.
French officials have reported that nearly 54% of the country's population, which comes to more than 36 million people, have become fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Since Macron passed the health pass for the first time on July 12, at least seven million people have been encouraged to get their first vaccine shot, NPR reported.