Protest against COVID restrictions and vaccines in Madrid

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Protest against COVID restrictions and vaccines in Madrid
Copyright  Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Hundreds marched in the Spanish capital Madrid on Sunday to protest against COVID-19 restrictions. 

The participants largely fell into two different groups: people against vaccination and those asking for more freedom to face the pandemic without government measures.

The march ended in front of the parliament, where crowds listened to songs and speeches.

It comes despite Spain -- as with several other European countries -- announcing the easing of restrictions. 

For example, mandatory outdoor mask-wearing is expected to be lifted by 10 February. 

Regional authorities in northern Aragon, the Basque Country and the Canary Islands have also lifted some COVID restrictions on socialising.

Aragon dropped a rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR certificate to enter bars and restaurants.

The Basque Country and Catalonia also ended health pass requirements, while the Canary Islands have allowed bars and restaurants to ask for it on a voluntary basis.

The easing of measures comes as the COVID-19 infection rates dropped in the country over the last two weeks.