Paris: France and Italy on Sunday witnessed mass protests against the COVID-19 health pass with protesters saying that it infringes on their civil liberties.
The protests come as European countries double down on efforts to get wide portions of their populations vaccinated in the face of the spreading delta variant — and in a bid to avoid further lockdowns, reported DW News.
Demonstrations against France’s health pass and mandatory vaccines for health care workers entered their fourth weekend, with Saturday seeing the largest rally yet.
An estimated 237,000 people turned out nationwide, according to the Interior Ministry.
The figure exceeds the attendance a week ago, which saw 204,000 protesters, reported DW News. The protests come on the heels of a Constructional Council ruling on Thursday.
The court approved the government’s plan for the health pass and vaccine requirements for workers in hospitals in nursing homes, reported DW News.
France is currently in the grips of the fourth wave of coronavirus infections.
The county has seen a boost in vaccinations since French President Emmanuel Macron announced the health pass in July.
Meanwhile, Italy also saw thousands turn out against the implementation of the country’s Green Pass, which is now required for teachers and for people to attend indoor events.
Citing news agency ANSA, DW News reported that “thousands” marched in the city of Milan at an unauthorized protest. Some within the anti-vaccine movement wore widely condemned yellow star badges reading “not vaccinated,” resembling those that Jewish people were forced to wear by the Nazis.
Meanwhile, around two-thirds of the French population who are eligible for the jab have received one dose, 55 per cent are fully vaccinated, while Italy has overseen a successful vaccination campaign, with over 63 per cent of the population older than 12 fully vaccinated, reported DW News.
The health pass in France and the Green Pass in Italy are both digital certificates that provide proof of a person’s coronavirus status.
They contain data on whether the person is vaccinated against COVID-19, has recently tested negative, or has recovered from the virus.
The pass is already required in France for those who want to go to the movie theatre or attend other major events.
Starting on Monday, it will also be required for those who want to visit bars and restaurants, or for those travelling on long-distance trains or on aeroplanes.
In Italy, the Green Pass is required to enter museums, sports venues, cinemas and indoor dining. School teachers, university staff and university students are also required to show the pass.