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.”