Anger is mounting in France against mandatory Covid “health passes”.

“Authoritarian” health pass protests in France show no signs of letting up

August 10, 2021 - 11:14

Without the permits French residents are prohibited from entering many places including shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, hospitals as well as boarding long-distance trains. Even somebody dining on an outside terrace will need the pass.

Despite a public backlash and four consecutive weeks of protests against the “health pass”, Paris has extended the legislation known as Pass Sanitaire from August 9. 

The passes are shown in the form of a QR code, digitally or on paper, and sent to those who are fully vaccinated, have a negative Covid-19 test, or had the disease and recovered.

The government hopes it will boost vaccination rates. 

But, French President Emmanuel Macron is facing a tricky task just eight months before he seeks re-election in April 2022. 

Official figures say more than 237,000 people took part in demonstrations nationwide across the weekend. 

Organizers say the turnout was higher. 

Opponents of Macron’s plans strongly believe the pass violates the most fundamental of French principles: the “liberty” and “equality” of the country’s national motto.

The protests have united the far right and the far left and many in between. 

Critics accuse Macron of running a health "dictatorship" by forcing people to get vaccinated against their will. 

They argue that the pass limits their movements outside their houses, and implicitly makes vaccinations mandatory.

During the demonstrations, protesters pointed out they are not, in principle, opposed to vaccines, but object to being forced to have them.

Experts say the key debate around the health pass has been the power of the state against the people. 

Presidential Candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, describing the health pass as “absurd, unfair and authoritarian”.

The French government has defended the plan saying nobody is being forced to be vaccinated, but opponents say they are certainly being coerced.

Meanwhile, Italy also saw thousands turn out in opposition to the country's Green Pass, which is now required for teachers and anyone attending indoor events.

The Italian Green Pass is required to enter museums, sports venues, cinemas, and indoor dining. School teachers, university staff, and students are also required to show the pass.

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