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237,000 march against health pass rules in France

This weekend marked the fourth consecutive weekend of action against the rules, with protesters diverse in their beliefs and reasons for marching

A slogan banner held during a protest against the health pass. 237,000 march against health pass rules in France

Protests took place across France this Saturday for the fourth consecutive weekend Pic: NeydtStock / Shutterstock

More than 230,000 people marched for a fourth consecutive weekend in France yesterday in protest against the health pass and mandatory vaccination – a rise on last weekend’s figures.

Protests took place in 198 towns and cities. Official Interior Ministry figures show that there were 237,000 people marching nationwide, including 17,000 in Paris.

This is 33,000 more than on July 31, when 204,000 people marched.

There were particularly high numbers of protesters in the southeast, where at least 47,000 people marched, local police said. This included 19,000 in Toulon, almost 10,000 in Nice, 8,000 in Montpellier, and at least 6,000 in Marseille.

Most protests were peaceful, with only 35 arrests and seven mild injuries among law enforcement officers, out of 198 actions in total nationwide.

By 20:00, eight people had been taken into police custody in Paris, including one minor.

Slogans among protesters included: “Macron, we don’t want your pass”, “Freedom”, “No to the health pass” “No to the health dictatorship”, and “Shut up Macron, we don’t want any more”.

Even heavy rain and hail in some areas did not disperse the most determined of protesters.

As in previous weeks, protesters were varied in political beliefs and goals. 

Some had taken part in the gilets jaunes movement, others were anti-vaxx and conspiracy theorists, and others were pro-vaxx but pro-choice. As many were from the extreme right as the extreme left. Many professions were present, including healthcare workers, and firefighters.

One protester, Alexandre Fourez, 34, told the AFP: “The problem with the health pass, is that they are forcing our hand.”

More than 11,000 people showed up at a separate protest held by Florian Philippot – former deputy of the Rassemblement National and now founder of his own party Les Patriotes – who has been present at the protests since the start.

Protest figures (official Interior Ministry numbers)

July 14 - 17,000
July 17 - 114,000
July 24 - 160,000
July 31 - 204,000
August 7 - 237,000

Related stories

‘I’m not the police’: French restaurant owners reject health pass
How can I know the real number of protesters?
16% of people in France do not want Covid vaccine, new study finds
France’s health pass does not have a photo so must we show ID too?

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