Four separate large-scale demonstrations tookplace in Paris on Saturday. Crowds of people blocked busy roads and business districts as they marched through the streets in various parts of the city surrounded by cordons of police officers in riot gear.
The protesters waved French national flags and placards that read: ‘health is not a business’. Some flags of leftist and even Royalist groups were seen in the crowds as well.
Large numbers of paramilitary police were deployed around Paris, particularly at the
Champs-Elysees and Wagram Avenue in the city’s northwest, where activists on social media had planned a large event. The total number of demonstrators in that area estimated at around 30,000 people on the
streets by midday
Videos posted on social media showed Paris streets and boulevards blocked by huge crowds.
Tensions quickly boiled over in the crowded streets as footage
published on social media showed police attacking citizens with tear gas and batons and protesters kicking and verbally
assaulting police officers. One video showed
the crowd attacking the police with various objects.
Clashes erupted near the Champs-Elysees in particular, as the police prevented participants of one of the demonstrations from entering the avenue in which the French presidential palace is situated, the French media reported.
Saturday marked the ninth consecutive week of protests. Rallies began in mid-July after President Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced a n unconstitutional rule that made presenting a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test obligatory for those wishing to visit a restaurant, theater, cinema and shopping mall or travel on a long-distance train.
The government measures also involved mandatory vaccination for medics, which is opposed by many hospital staff members and the trade unions that represent them. The government insisted that the measures are needed to encourage people to get the jabs and eventually avoid another lockdown.