More than 50,000 people protested against stricter Covid-19 measures in France on Saturday, as the upper house of parliament approved a bill introducing a vaccine pass.
Around 54,000 people protested across the country, including 7,000 who marched in the capital, according to the Interior Ministry.
Some held banners that read “Freedom” and “Democracy in danger.”
“I’m against the vaccine pass. I’m against mass vaccination – everyone must be free to choose,” a protester in Paris told Ruptly video agency.
Others showed support for unvaccinated Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, who was recently detained and slated for deportation in Australia for breaking health regulations. “Novak is kind of our standard-bearer at the moment,” a protester told AFP in Bordeaux.
The French Senate, the upper house of parliament, adopted an amended version of the vaccine pass bill the same day. The lower house, the National Assembly, is due to vote on the hotly debated bill on Sunday afternoon.
If adopted, the vaccine pass will replace the existing health pass required for entering establishments including cafes, restaurants, gyms and cinemas. The measure is aimed at incentivizing more people to get fully vaccinated.
Booster shots became necessary for the working health pass on Saturday. People who have received their second dose more than seven months ago, but have not received a booster, had their passes deactivated.