Protests broke out in multiple Western countries this past week, as thousands of citizens in Australia, France, Italy, and the U.K. took to the streets to push back against government-mandated lockdowns and COVID-19 vaccine passports.
In the nation’s largest city of Sydney, protesters voiced opposition to newly implemented lockdown restrictions by the New South Wales government. According to the Daily Caller, the city has already been subject to a four-week lockdown.
Following 111 newly confirmed cases and the death of a man in his 80s, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued an extended stay-at-home order for the areas of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, and Liverpool, mandating that residents cannot leave their local government areas until July 30. Moreover, the order calls for restrictions on businesses and construction sites, while also designating which citizens are permitted to leave their homes and for what reasons.
#Australia | Thousands of people took out anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, demanding an end to the city’s lockdown, which is entering its fifth week. The protests turned violent as protesters threw potted plants and water bottles at police offices@alysonle tells you more pic.twitter.com/I8NzGJzkKh
— WION (@WIONews) July 24, 2021
Per the Daily Caller, “During the protests, many people were heard chanting ‘freedom,’ and signs with phrases like ‘unmask the truth’ and ‘no forced vaccines, no vax passports’ were seen among the crowd. Some violence also broke out as protesters clashed with police officers who tried to disband the demonstrations.”
Sydney police have arrested and charged 57 people, with New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon encouraging Aussie citizens to share any footage of the protests with law enforcement so authorities can identify and punish remaining violators.
NEW 🚨 Scenes from large anti-lockdown protest rally in Sydney, Australia pic.twitter.com/THIKJKXOHK
— Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) July 24, 2021
More than 160,000 people took to the streets of Paris and various other cities to protest a proposed law that would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers and require citizens to carry a special virus pass for all restaurants and domestic travel.
According to Fox News, “Protesters chanting ‘Liberty! Liberty!’ gathered at Bastille plaza and marched through eastern Paris in one of several demonstrations Saturday around France.” Protesters were also present across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower.
Manifestations contre le #PassSanitaire à Paris.
100000 manifestants rien qu’au #Trocadero selon les organisateurs, sans comptabilisation de la manif au départ de Bastille.
— Remy Buisine (@RemyBuisine) July 24, 2021
In the town of Chambéry, more than 300 protesters stormed the locality’s town hall while shouting various chants, including “No to the [vaccine] pass,” and “Macron must resign!” Soon after, demonstrators took down the official portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Despite the massive showings, French lawmakers passed the law early Monday, giving health care workers until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated or face possible suspension. In order to get the “health pass,” citizens must have proof of vaccination, recently tested negative, or recently recovered from the virus.
In response to the backlash, Macron, who backed the legislation, publicly criticized the demonstrations.
“What is your freedom worth if you say to me, ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated,’ but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother, or myself?” he said.
Similar to France, Italy recently implemented its own version of vaccine passports in the form of “green passes.” Starting Aug. 6, the passes will be required “to enter cinemas, museums, indoor swimming pools or sports stadiums, or eat indoors at restaurants.” Moreover, “It will serve as proof bearers have either been vaccinated, undergone a recent negative Covid-19 test, or recovered from a coronavirus infection.”
“The health pass is an instrument to allow Italians to continue their activities with the guarantee of not being among contagious people,” said Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “No vaccines means new lockdowns.”
A proposal to expand the pass to incorporate public transportation is expected to be re-evaluated in September.
“I invite all Italians to get vaccinated and do it immediately,” said Draghi, while also arguing that avoiding vaccination “is an appeal to die.”
In response to the mandate, thousands of Italian citizens protested across major cities, chanting phrases such as “Freedom,” “Down with the dictatorship,” and “No green pass” while waving the Italian flag. Demonstrations had previously been announced for Saturday in at least 80 cities across the country, including Rome, Milan, and Naples.
The United Kingdom
In London’s Trafalgar Square in the U.K., at least 15,000 demonstrators gathered to protest the country’s new lockdown measures and COVID-19 vaccination mandates. Most recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he plans “to make full vaccination the condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather” by the end of September through the use of the National Health Service’s COVID Pass.
“The vaccine passport system is the final straw, it’s the thin end of the wedge,” one protester told Breitbart News. “Deaths have dropped, people are getting vaccinated, and in theory, that’s supposed to protect us, and here we still are. I see no end to it, they are never going to let go of the powers that they have stolen, they are loving it too much.”
Additionally, another protester said that although he had already had one dose of the COVID vaccine and was by no means an “anti-vaxxer,” he insisted, “I will not show my papers when the state asks for them because it has no right to do so.”
Other countries that have seen an increase in pushback against government-mandated COVID-19 vaccine passports include Slovakia, Ireland, and Greece, among others. Lawmakers in Germany have proposed similar French-style passports, but have faced pushback from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.