Far-right activists and yellow vest movement march against French virus bill

Demonstrations took place against a Bill requiring special vaccine passes to enter restaurants and other venues.

Far-right activists and yellow vest movement march against French virus bill

Far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement are holding protests against a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and other venues and mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for all health care workers.

Legislators in France’s senate are debating the bill on Saturday after the lower house of parliament approved it on Friday.

French virus infections are spiking and hospital cases are also growing. The government is trying to speed up vaccinations to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals and avoid new lockdowns.

French protesters
Thousands of protesters gather at Place Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower (AP)

Protesters against the move marched through Paris in one of multiple demonstrations planned Saturday.

A crowd gathered at Bastille plaza and marched through eastern Paris in one of several demonstrations which took place around France.

Floriant Philippot
Head of right-wing party Les Patriotes Floriant Philippot addresses protesters in Paris (AP)

While most protesters were calm, tensions erupted on the margins of the Bastille march.

Riot police sprayed tear gas on marchers after someone threw a chair at an officer. Other projectiles could also be seen in a video of the incident.

Many marchers focused their anger on a French “health pass” that is required to enter museums, movie theatres and tourist sites.

Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron (AP)

To get the pass, people need to be fully vaccinated, have a recent negative test or have proof they recently recovered from the virus.

Legislators have debated the measure amid divisions over how far to go in imposing health passes or mandatory vaccinations.

Paris protesters
The Covid-19 pass grants vaccinated individuals greater ease of access to venues (AP)

They included far-right politicians and activists as well as some others targeting their ire at President Emmanuel Macron.

Remaining members of France’s yellow vest movement, largely from political extremes, are also using the virus bill to try to renew their campaign.

The yellow vest movement started in 2018 as a broad uprising against perceived economic injustice and led to months of protests marked by violence between demonstrators and police, but subsided after the French government addressed many of the protesters’ concerns.

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