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Far-right, other activists march against French virus rules

Last Updated Jul 24, 2021 at 6:35 am PDT

PARIS (AP) — Far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement are holding protests Saturday 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 Saturday after the lower house of parliament approved it Friday.

French virus infections are spiking and hospitalizations are rising anew. The government is trying to speed up vaccination to protect vulnerable populations and hospitals and avoid new lockdowns.

Most French adults are fully vaccinated and polls indicate a majority of French people support the new measures.

But not everyone. Protesters chanting “Liberty! Liberty!” marched through Paris in one of multiple demonstrations planned Saturday.

Last weekend, more than 100,000 people protested around France against the measures. They included far-right politicians and activists as well as some others angry at President Emmanuel Macron for various reasons.

Remaining members of France’s yellow vest movement, largely from political extremes, are also using the virus bill to try to rekindle its flame. The 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.

The Associated Press