‘Our Freedom Is in Danger’: Protests Erupt Across Europe Over COVID-19 Mandates

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
August 1, 2021World News

Thousands of people in France demonstrated against a special “health pass” and marched through Paris and other French cities on Saturday, with most protests being peaceful with a few sporadic clashes.

Some 3,000 security forces deployed around Paris for the third weekend of protests against the pass that will be required soon to enter restaurants and other places. The so-called “health pass” system—likened to vaccine passports—was passed in the French Parliament last week, with the law going into effect later this month on Aug. 9.

Meanwhile, a court in Berlin over the weekend declared that anti-lockdown protests were illegal, leading to arrests of demonstrators. Judges in the capital’s administrative court refused to authorize 13 demonstrations, DW reported, which were organized by an anti-lockdown group as organizers said that some 22,500 people registered to partake in protests.

Video footage and photos uploaded to Twitter showed that apparent anti-lockdown protesters were being arrested or corralled by officers on Saturday. A planned march planned for Sunday was also banned by the court, according to DW.

The German judges said the protests should be banned because, if not, they would facilitate the spread of COVID-19.

Berlin police spokesman Thilo Cablitz told reporters that the ruling targeted protests “whose participants regularly do not follow legal regulations, specifically to protect against infections,” including wearing a mask.

Protest in France
A protestor holds a sign which reads in French, “freedom” and “no to the COVID passport” as she attends a demonstration in Paris, France, on July 31, 2021. (Michel Euler/AP Photo)

In Italy, thousands of anti-vaccine pass demonstrators marched in cities including Rome, Milan, and Naples for the second consecutive week. Milan demonstrators stopped outside the city’s courthouse chanting “Truth! “Shame!” and “Liberty!” while in Rome they marched behind a banner reading “Resistance.” Those demonstrations were noisy but peaceful.

Italian authorities have come up with a health pass of their own to enter bars, restaurants, and other venues. Critics of the measure argue it’s draconian and infringes on basic personal liberties.

Across the border in Switzerland, more than 4,000 people gathered in Lucerne to demonstrate against vaccine restrictions, according to local media reports.

French protest
Protestors hold up a banner which reads ‘freedom’ in French during a demonstration in Paris, France, on July 31, 2021. (Adrienne Surprenant/AP Photo)

“I think that we mustn’t be told what to do,” 37-year-old nurse Hager Ameur, who resigned from her job, told The Associated Press, adding that French medical workers during the first wave of COVID-19 were quite mistreated. “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.”

“We’re creating a segregated society and I think it is unbelievable to be doing this in the country of human rights,” Anne, a teacher who was protesting in Paris who didn’t provide her last name, told The Guardian.

She added: “So I took to the streets; I have never protested before in my life … I think our freedom is in danger.”

French authorities said they have to set up the health pass due to the Delta variant being more contagious. 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.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter that police arrested 10 protesters in Paris and nine demonstrators elsewhere in France, while adding that three officers were injured.

Outside of Europe, thousands of demonstrators—who were wearing face masks and socially distancing—took to the streets across Malaysia to protest against how the government is handling the virus, while calling for the prime minister’s resignation. Critics have said that the prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, is using pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions to boost his power.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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