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PROTESTS

What to expect in France this weekend as more anti-health pass protests planned

Opponents of the French health pass are planning another round of marches in towns and cities across France on Saturday, a week after 205,000 people took to the streets. The health passport will be required for many aspects of daily life from Monday.

What to expect in France this weekend as more anti-health pass protests planned
Photo: Philippe Lopez / AFP.

The latest round of protests comes after the powerful Conseil Constitutionnel gave the government’s new health law the green light, paving the way for the extended rules to be enforced from Monday, August 9th.

READ ALSO How you’ll need to use your French health pass from Monday

The Conseil’s announcement was greeted with anger by a few hundred demonstrators outside the venerable institution on Thursday, while some 150 or so marches are planned across France on Saturday, highlighted on the map below:

In Paris, where about 14,500 marched last weekend, four marches are planned on the final Saturday before health pass rules are extended.

The first protest is set to start at Pont de Neuilly at 10.30am, before heading towards Avenue Victoria, near Place du Châtelet, two hours later. A second will start at 1pm at Place du Palais-Royal and head to Place Pierre-Laroque, while another will leave Place Edmond Rostand at 2.30pm and head to Place du Palais-Royal.

What is expected to be the largest gathering of the day, called by hard-right politician Florian Philippot, will start at 2.30pm at Place Joffre in front of the École militaire and head to Place Vauban.

“Several thousand” protesters are expected in the capital, according to Le Parisien.

Protests in other towns and cities include: 

  • Aix-En-Provence – 10am Place du Général de Gaulle

  • Bayonne – 2pm Place de la liberté

  • Bordeaux – 1.30pm Place de la bourse

  • Clermont-Ferrand – 2pm Place de Jaude

  • Dijon – 2pm Place de la République

  • Grenoble – 2.30pm Place de Verdun

  • Lyon – 2pm place Maréchal Lyautey

  • Montpellier – 2pm Place de la Comédie

  • Nancy – 2pm Place Maginot

  • Nice – 2pm Place Garibaldi

  • Orléans – 2pm Place de la République

  • Rouen – 2pm Hotel de ville

  • Toulouse – 2pm Métro Jean-Jaurès

Since the start of the pandemic in France, Covid-19 has affected more than 6.2 million people, while more than 112,100 people have died of the virus – equivalent to the population of Saint-Denis in 2018.

READ ALSO IN PICTURES: Over 200,000 people protest against health pass in France

According to official figures published on Thursday, August 5th, more than 2.6 million vaccine doses have been administered in France since the beginning of the month – and more than 1.6 million of those were first doses.

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PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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