Protesters took to the streets across France on Saturday for a fourth consecutive weekend to demonstrate against a new health pass needed to enter a cafe or travel on an inter-city train, two days before the new rules come into force.
The new rules championed by French President Emmanuel Macron make it obligatory to have either a full course of vaccination against Covid-19, be in possession of a negative test or be recently recovered from the virus to enjoy usually routine activities.
The opponents, who have turned out en masse in the streets in the past weeks, argue that the rules encroach on civil liberties in a country where individual freedom is prized.
Two days before the new pass comes into effect, protests have been planned in a number of cities, including Paris, Lille in the northeast and Toulon on the Mediterranean coast.
Critics accuse Macron of running a health “dictatorship” by forcing people to get vaccinated against their will.
The biggest change concerns restaurants which will now have to turn away patrons who fail to produce the health pass. Many restaurant owners say it is not their job to enforce the law, checking each client for a pass.
Visitors to some shopping centres and department stores will also need the pass, as will visitors to hospitals or care homes and people seeking non-urgent medical care.
Last week, the French interior ministry estimated that 204,000 people had participated in the nationwide demonstrations.
With FRANCE 24