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Protests against COVID-19 health pass held across France for 4th consecutive week

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By Euronews with AFP, AP
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Vaccine passport protesters gather during a demonstration in Paris, France,  Aug. 7, 2021.
Vaccine passport protesters gather during a demonstration in Paris, France, Aug. 7, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo / Adrienne Surprenant
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Tens of thousands of people protested across France on Saturday and for a fourth consecutive week against the COVID-19 health pass.

Marches took place in 150 cities with the Interior Ministry estimated in the late afternoon that about 237,000 people had taken part in protests — higher than the estimated 204,000 of the previous weekend.

The demonstrations came just two days before the use of the health pass — attesting that the holder has either been fully vaccinated, has recently tested negative or has recovered from the disease — is extended to bars, restaurants and long-distance public transport.

The health pass is already required to visit cultural and leisure venues with capacity of more than 50 people.

France's Constitutional Council approved the extension on Thursday.

Over the previous three weeks, protesters chanted "No to the health pass" and"freedom". They argue that the pass restricts their freedoms and that the government is forcing people to get vaccinated.

Some demonstrators are also protesting the government making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for health care workers by Sept. 15.

More than 79% of French adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 68% are fully inoculated.

At least 7 million people have gotten their first vaccine shot since President Emmanuel Macron announced the roll-out of the health pass on July 12.

France is registering over 21,000 new confirmed virus cases daily, a steep climb from one month ago. More than 112,000 people with the virus have died in the country since the start of the pandemic.

A growing number of European countries have started implemented virus pass requirements, each with slightly different rules.

Protests have been held last month in neighbouring Italy against a pass to access indoor dining, gyms, theaters, cinemas and other gathering places. The so-called “Green Pass” entered into force on Friday.