Thousands of French citizens demonstrated in several cities Saturday for an eighth straight weekend, continuing protests against the country’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system required to enter most public areas, including stadiums, cafes, restaurants, and gyms.
The health pass, which was passed by the French Parliament weeks ago, mandates an individual be vaccinated, have a recent negative COVID-19 test, or prove they have fully recovered from the virus. Another law slated to go into effect this month will require all healthcare workers to get the vaccine.
France’s Ministry of Interior confirmed to news outlets over the weekend that about 140,000 people partook in demonstrations over the weekend. A week ago, about 170,000 people partook in protests.
While some media outlets have described the mass protests as “anti-vaccine,” many of the slogans and signs held by protesters go against vaccine mandates and passports, rather than COVID-19 vaccines themselves. Numerous protesters were seen on Saturday chanting, “liberte,” which translates to “freedom.”
“We are boycotting this health pass … In the end, this health pass will fall,” Florian Philippot, the head of the “Patriots” movement, reported Local Media, and he promised to go on a “general strike” for an indefinite period.
“We will always say ‘no’ to the sanitary pass. We’re not sheep,” said a Parisian woman to Ouest France, according to a translation.
“No to discrimination, no to bullying. Freedom.”
A sign at a protest in Paris read:
“I will not submit to health terror.”
Under the current vaccine passport law, only adults are eligible. However, that will soon change as all children ages 12 and above will be allowed to get vaccinated on Sept. 30.
Similar vaccine passports were introduced in other European nations, including Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and others, which also drew demonstrations.
Over the weekend, protests erupted across Canada recent vaccine passport mandates.
In Toronto, David McLelland, a retired professor who taught at the University of Toronto, said the protesters are “an alliance in protection of human liberty” united by their opposition to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the restriction of freedoms.
“I believe that the reason for [vaccine passports] is simply to introduce a surveillance state and much more social control—to introduce a surveillance society or surveillance protocol so that the government will know where you are all the time,” McLelland told The Epoch Times on Saturday.
“There have been massive demonstrations against vaccine passports in towns all through Europe repeatedly, yet there’s virtually no coverage by the mainstream media. You see the same thing going on in Australia but they’re basically called thugs and hooligans,” he added.
Thousands more protesters marched in Vancouver, British Columbia, over its vaccine passport mandate. Last week, a large crowd gathered at Vancouver General Hospital due to vaccine requirements.