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Paris police clash with antivirus pass protesters

For the third weekend, around 3,000 security personnel were deployed in the French capital to protest the new pass required soon for entry to restaurants and other public places. To prevent an invasion of this famous avenue, police took up positions along Paris' Champs-Elysees.

French lawmakers passed a bill that required the passage in all places, as a result of rising rates of virus infections and hospitalizations. While the majority of French support the bill, polls indicate that some French are opposed to it. The pass requires that all health care workers receive vaccine shots by mid-September.

Anti-pass protestors used the slogan "liberty" as their rally cry.

Hager Ameur (37-year-old nurse) said that she quit her job and accused the government of using a form "blackmail."

She stated that she believes that people shouldn't be told what they should do. She also said that French medical personnel during the first COVID-19 wave were very mistreated. "Now, we are suddenly told that if people don't get vaccinated, it is their fault." It is very sickening.

Tensions flared at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub, northern Paris, during the largest demonstration. During the march, police formed lines to confront protestors in close encounters. On several occasions, police used their fists.

As marchers marched eastward, some pelted police officers with objects. Police fired tear gas into the crowds and plumes of smoke filled the sky. One male protester was seen bleeding from his head, and another officer was taken away by fellow officers. According to the French press, three officers sustained injuries. As the march came to an end at the Bastille, police again responded to the protestors with a water cannon.

The former top lieutenant of Marine Le Pen, far-right leader, led a calmer march and formed his own anti-EU party. Florian Philippot's new cause against the virus pass seems to be more popular. His contingent of hundreds marched Saturday towards the Health Ministry.

Francois Asselineau (leader of the Popular Republican Union, a tiny anti-EU party) was not present. He is an avid campaigner against COVID-19 and was a vocal opponent to the health pass. Asselineau, who wasn't hospitalized, posted a video to his party's website in which he called for people to reject the "absurd and unjust" health pass.

Because the highly contagious Delta variant is making strong inroads, French authorities have begun to implement the health pass. Friday night saw more than 24,000 daily cases confirmed, compared to the few thousand cases per day at the beginning of the month.

Many French people, who were not vaccinated, signed up for immunizations after the government announced that the health pass would be in effect starting Aug. 9. This will ensure that their social lives aren't disrupted during summer holidays. Vaccinations can now be obtained at many locations, including beaches. Over 52% of French citizens have been vaccinated.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, around 112,000 people in France have been affected by the virus.

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