Protests in France and Italy against vaccine passes requirement

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Thousands rallied in central Paris against a plan by the French government to introduce Covid-19 that will be required to enter restaurants and other venues. To get the pass, people need to be fully vaccinated, have a recent negative test or have proof they recently recovered from the virus. Legislators in France’s Senate were debating the virus bill Saturday after the lower house of parliament approved it on Friday. People including far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement protested Saturday across the country. Protesters chanting “Liberty! Liberty!” gathered at Bastille plaza and marched through eastern Paris in one of several demonstrations Saturday. They carried banners reading “Stop the dictatorship.”

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Tensions erupted on the margins of the Bastille march. Riot police sprayed tear gas on marchers after someone threw a chair at an officer. Later some protesters moved to the Arc de Triomphe and police used water cannon to disperse them. Lawmakers are divided over how far to go in imposing health passes or mandatory vaccinations. Many protesters said they felt they were being rushed into something they’re not ready to do. Images showed a heavy police presence on the capital’s streets. Similar protests were held in neighboring Italy. thousands of protesters gathered in Rome, Milan, Verona and other cities Saturday. In the northern city of Verona, several thousand people marched down the main shopping street, chanting “No Green Pass!” and “Freedom!”