Paris: Crowds clash with police in Bastille Day protest
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The Gilets Jaunes were among a number of groups who clashed with riot police in Paris as tear gas and other projectiles were thrown during the protests. Videos show French streets littered with rubbish – some were also seen with bonfires – as many appear to be demonstrating against French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision for mandatory vaccines and passports across France. Protests are also being held in other French cities like Corsica and Perpignan during the expected annual demonstrations held every Bastille Day.
Drums were heard playing in the street as people chanted against the Government and Mr Macron’s plans for mandatory vaccines.
Tear gas was fired into crowds as protesters kicked back the canisters towards riot police.
Protesters were also chanting “freedom” as large swathes of people charged towards lines of armoured officers.
President Macron announced on Monday that the Delta variant was sweeping across France and new measures had to be put in place to tackle the spread.
Protesters clashed with police during the Bastille Day celebration (Image: @tzvi_meir_)
Marches were held across the French capital (Image: Ruptly)
He told a press conference: “If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to increase.”
Among the new measures, including mandatory vaccines for health workers and passports for hospitality businesses, PCR tests would no longer be made free unless under a prescription.
It is hoped it will encourage people to come forward to get the vaccine.
Curfews will also be introduced to some areas in France,
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Emmanuel Macron was elsewhere celebrating Bastille Day (Image: Getty)
Earlier this year, France flip-flopped between lockdown measures where Mr Macron desperately tried to avoid a full lockdown as cases rose.
Before April, non-essential shops were allowed to open and localised lockdowns were put in place but a 50 percent rise in cases over two weeks forced the Government to intervene and introduce curfews.
Mr Macron was also accused of fueling anti-vax sentiments by throwing doubt on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He branded the jab “quasi-ineffective” in over-65s and attacked the pharmaceutical company for not following through on its contracts.
Vaccine takeup in France has slowed down however following Mr Macron’s announcement on Monday, France’s online health portal crashed thanks to too many people looking for vaccine appointments.
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French police gathered to take on the protesters (Image: Ruptly)
Bastille Day, celebrated on July 14 every year, commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.
French government and leaders typically put on parades and celebrations to mark the occasion but the date is also used for political campaigners to protests in the street.
In 2020, protesters took to the streets to highlight the plight of French healthcare workers and the problems France suffered from the pandemic.