More than 160,000 protest in France against stricter pandemic rules

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About 161,000 people have protested across France on Saturday in objection to new regulations introduced by the country’s authorities to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Franceinfo television channel reported that some 11,000 people demonstrated in Paris.

There were scuffles on the edges of the protest in Paris near the Champs-Elysees, which police quelled with tear gas and water cannons, images showed on television.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin criticized violence directed against the police and journalists in a tweet and said nine people had been arrested.

Last week, some 114,000 people nationwide took to the streets to protest against the measures, the Interior Ministry said.

 The French government has introduced stricter regulations as case numbers soar in the country. France is battling a fourth wave of infections, according to Prime Minister Jean Castex.

On Friday, the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, had approved a bill to extend a requirement that people show that they have either tested negative for the virus, been vaccinated or recovered for access to certain venues.

Lawmakers also approved the compulsory vaccination of health workers.

Next, the regulations must be approved by the Senate, the upper chamber of parliament.

People would then have to prove they were vaccinated, tested negative or had recovered from Covid-19 in order to take long-distance trains, or enter bars, restaurants and shopping centres, as of August.

TNA Niyi-Akinmade

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