While many of France's neighbors, such as Switzerland and the United Kingdom, are getting rid of their vaccine passport systems and COVID-19 lockdown regulations, France is tightening its restrictions and control over where the unvaccinated can go. (Related: Analysis: France's vaccine pass turns the unvaxxed into second-class citizens.)
According to France's recently passed vaccine passport law, its bearers will be allowed access to public transportation and entry to restaurants, cafes and other leisure venues, as well as to cultural and sporting venues.
Minister of Solidarity and Health Dr. Olivier Veran also announced that the new government decrees make it more difficult to obtain a vaccine passport. According to the new regulations, fully vaccinated individuals must get a booster shot of the vaccine within four months of the second jab or present proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the previous six months to get the passport.
Furthermore, Veran pointed out that unvaccinated individuals who have a natural immunity to the coronavirus from a previous infection will only be eligible for a vaccine passport for four months before they are required to get vaccinated.
On Saturday, Jan. 29, thousands of Parisians took to the streets to express their anger at the COVID-19 vaccine passport law, calling it excessive and discriminatory against the unvaccinated.
This protest was organized by Florian Philippot, a former member of the European Parliament and president and founder of the French political party The Patriots. This protest is the latest of nearly 100 that have been organized every Saturday by Philippot's party since 2020 against the lockdowns and vaccine mandate.
"The vaccine pass is segregation in plain sight, and the worst part is that a lot of people support this segregation," said one protester on Saturday.
Many of the protesters held up placards advocating health freedom and denouncing the vaccine mandate and passport systems as tyrannical and discriminatory. They also waved flags of various countries, notably Canada, where a protest movement led by unvaccinated truck drivers against a vaccine mandate is underway.
There were multiple smaller protests held all over the Paris metropolitan area. The main "freedom demonstration," as it is called, ended outside the main office building of the Solidarity and Health Ministry. The protesters danced, played songs, chanted pro-health freedom slogans and held an impromptu party.
In the Haute-Savoie department, an administrative region in the eastern part of France right next to the country's border with Switzerland, resistance to COVID-19 restrictions is growing. Several of the country's senators have expressed their support for the resistance the mayors are trying to build.
"Every day, in our communities of Haute-Savoie, whether they are large or small, rural or urban, we see little by little how division is becoming entrenched. We see the couples that we have united torn apart. We are witnessing the break-up of century-old associations," wrote the group of over 280 elected officials in Haute-Savoie in a letter demanding an end to the vaccine passport system.
"We are doing all that is in our power to make known how bad these vaccine passports are and how they are really dividing the population, and we shall continue," said Mayor Luc Patois of the small town of Marcellaz during a radio interview.
"We are asked to put protocols in place, and to implement measures," added Mayor Sabrina Ancel of Saint-Jean-de-Tholome. "We see the incoherence of all these protocols, and we can't say anything. So now, we have decided not to keep quiet any longer because enough is enough."
Watch this video and see a group of protesters gathered outside Pfizer's Paris headquarters demonstrating against the COVID-19 vaccine.
Learn more about the protests against COVID-19 vaccine restrictions and lockdowns at Pandemic.news.