PARIS police have used tear gas to disperse large anti-vaxx crowds who are protesting against the government’s jab passport scheme.
Some 3,000 riot police clashed with thousands of protesters in French capital for a third weekend in row over proposals to introduce a vaccine pass.
Police also used water cannons to ward off thousands of protestors at the Champs-Elysees and the Place de la Bastille.
More than 160,000 people marched in Paris and other major cities in demonstrations organised by so-called Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests anti-government movement.
“Some of the marches are illegal, and they are being joined by anarchist groups who are not directly linked to the protest,” said one officer at the scene.
People are protesting against a bill recently passed by French lawmakers that makes it mandatory to have a Covid vaccination passport to enter restaurants and public spaces.
Under the publicly-backed rules, healthcare workers will have until mid-September to prove they’re either double-jabbed, have already had Covid-19, or provide a negative test result.
‘I THINK IT IS SICKENING’
Hager Ameur, a 37-year-old nurse, accused the government of “blackmailing” her out of her job.
“I think that we mustn’t be told what to do”, she told The Associated Press, adding that medical workers during the first wave of COVID-19 were treated poorly.
“And now, suddenly we are told that if we don’t get vaccinated it is our fault that people are contaminated. I think it is sickening.”
Tensions flared in front of the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub in northern Paris during what appeared to be the largest demonstration yet.
Hordes of police faced down protesters in head-on confrontations that have left many bloody and injured.
As marchers headed east, police fired tear gas into the crowds hoping it would disperse them.
One man was left with blood gushing from his head.
Meanwhile, hundreds descended on the ministry of health in a separate march being led a far-right politician connected to Marine Le Pen.
Among those not present this week was Francois Asselineau, leader of the tiny anti-EU Popular Republican Union party and an ardent campaigner against the health pass, who came down with COVID-19.
In a video on his party’s website, Asselineau, who was not hospitalized, called on people to denounce the pass.
French authorities are implementing the health passport because the highly contagious Delta variant is making strong inroads.
More than 24,000 new daily cases were confirmed Friday night compared to just a few thousand cases a day at the start of the month.
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The government announced the measures would take effect on August 9, prompting hundreds of thousands of French to book their jabs to avoid missing out on summer holidays.
Vaccinations are now available at a wide variety of places, including some beaches. More than 52% of the French population has been vaccinated.
More than 111,800 people have died of the virus in France since the start of the pandemic.