Thousands of people have protested in Paris and other French cities for a mandatory health pass for the coronavirus to enter many public places, introduced by the government as it battles a fourth wave of infections.
Protesters injured three policemen in Paris, a police spokesman said. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter that 19 protesters were arrested, including 10 in Paris.
It was the third weekend in a row that people who opposed President Emmanuel Macron’s new Covid-19 measures took to the streets.
The number of protesters has grown steadily since the protests began, echoing the “yellow vest” movement that began in late 2018 against fuel and cost of living taxes.
An Interior Ministry official said 204,090 had demonstrated throughout France, including 14,250 in Paris. This is approximately 40,000 more than last week.
“We are creating a segregated society and I think it is incredible to do this in the country of human rights,” said Anne, a teacher demonstrating in Paris. She refused to give her last name.
“So I took to the streets; I have never protested before in my life, “he added. “I think our freedom is in danger.”
Visitors going to museums, cinemas or swimming pools are already denied entry if they cannot present the health pass that proves they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have had a recent negative test.
Parliament passed a new law this week that will make vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers and will extend the health pass requirement to bars, restaurants, trade shows, trains and hospitals.
About 3,000 police officers were deployed in the capital, and riot control officers struggled to keep protesters on authorized routes.
The authorities tried to prevent a repeat of the events last week, when fights broke out between the police and protesters on the Champs Elysees.
There were also protesters in other cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Montpelier, Nantes and Toulouse, shouting “Freedom!” and “No to the health pass!”