More than 100,000 people across France yesterday (January 8) protested against the health pass and government plans to turn it into a ‘vaccine pass’, in a new surge for the anti-pass movement.
There were 18,000 people in Paris, across three separate marches, and 105,200 people nationwide, according to Ministry of Interior figures.
The numbers mark a significant rise compared to before Christmas, when 25,500 people turned out to protest.
However, yesterday’s protests saw fewer people than at the beginning of the movement, which so far has peaked at 237,000 on August 7, and 121,000 on September 11.
This Saturday was the 26th consecutive weekend of marches.
There were some small clashes in Paris, causing three light injuries among law enforcement, and 24 arrests and seven small injuries across the rest of France.
In Montpellier, protesters attempted to scale fences at the prefecture in Hérault, and law enforcement responded with tear gas.
FRANCE— Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil (@ivan_8848) January 8, 2022
The police evacuated the demonstrators from the Place de la Préfecture in #Montpellier using numerous tear gas canisters.
Banners included slogans such as “no digital pass, no injections”; and “pissed off” citizens, in reference to President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial words about wanting to “piss off” the non-vaccinated.
In Lille, there were shouts of “wake up” from protesters.
Police officers marched too, with a banner that read: “Angry police”, with a message that they did not want to “piss off” citizens who “have committed no infractions”.
250 policiers derrière notre banderole @francepolice à la #manif8janvier des centaines de messages de soutien. Nous ne souhaitons pas emmerder des citoyens qui n’ont commis aucune infraction. #manifestation pic.twitter.com/zWm6nFZgK0— Bruno Attal (@Bruno_Attal_) January 8, 2022
Protesters called for a march in Mont-Saint-Michel, despite the Manche prefecture having banned any action. After authorities stated that they had not received authorisation for the march, it was cancelled.
The rise in numbers was expected following Mr Macron’s words, and the government’s plans to change the health pass to a vaccine pass.
French MPs have now definitively adopted a bill that will see the Covid health pass transform into a vaccine pass within weeks.
The planned vaccine pass, showing that someone is fully vaccinated against Covid, will be required to enter the majority of public places, including cafes, restaurants, long-distance transport services, cinemas, museums, etc.
If adopted, this would replace the current health pass, which allows people to show a negative Covid test to enter the public places which fall under the scheme.