The French Interior Ministry told Reuters that about 175,000 people demonstrated on Aug. 21—the sixth straight weekend. Last weekend, about 215,000 people partook in the demonstrations, and a week before that, about 237,000 turned out.
More people might protest next Saturday, however, as French citizens are returning from their summer vacations in the coming days.
“This health pass divides French people. I think that is clear. And unfortunately, I believe we should abolish it,” said civil servant Sophie Soulas at the Paris protest, according to EuroNews.
PARIS – Manifestation contre le #PassSanitaire : importante mobilisation pour le 6eme samedi consécutif en plein été.
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) August 21, 2021
Many people chanted phrases such as “freedom” and “free France.” Some also chanted against French President Emmanuel Macron and called on him to abolish the vaccine passports, which were passed by the French Parliament several weeks ago and later upheld by the country’s highest court.
According to local reports, about 200 different demonstrations were held across France in various cities and towns.
About a week ago, New York started its own vaccine passport system at restaurants, gyms, theaters, and bars, even as certain demographics in the city have very low vaccination rates. San Francisco, too, also started a vaccine passport system.
“There’s definitely some anxiety around how it’s all going to work,” said Pete Sittnick, a managing partner of Waterbar and EPIC Steak restaurants in San Francisco, according to CBS News. A slowdown of guests entering the restaurant is expected, he said, adding there will also likely be pushback from people who disagree with the mandate or scenarios in which people show up without documentation.
Inside the United States, vaccine passport-type systems have become a point of controversy, with several Republican-led states banning state and local governments from implementing them. Some states have also moved to prevent private businesses from using passport systems as well.
The American Civil Liberties Union on March 31 stated that it has significant concerns about possible “compromises and failures that are likely to happen” when implementing any type of passport system.
“We also worry that a vaccine passport will encourage over-use,” the civil liberties group stated.
“The issues around passport design are separate from the question of where and when people can be required to furnish proof of vaccinations, but if a passport system makes it very easy to ask for and to provide proof of vaccination, it’s likely that such requests will become over-used as people get asked for credentials at every turn.”