PARIS – French riot police fired tear gas on Saturday as clashes erupted during protests in central Paris over Covid-19 restrictions and a vaccination campaign, television reported.
Police tried to push back protesters near the capital’s Saint-Lazare train station after protesters knocked over a police motorcycle driven by two policemen, a TV video showed.
The images showed a strong police presence in the streets of the capital. Clashes between police and demonstrators also broke out on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, where tear gas was fired and traffic interrupted, according to the images.
During another demonstration called by far-right politicians in western Paris, protesters opposed to the anti-coronavirus measures carried banners reading “Stop the dictatorship”.
All over France, demonstrations were planned in cities such as Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes and Toulouse.
A French Interior Ministry official said 161,000 people demonstrated across the country on Saturday, up from 114,000 a week earlier.
The French legislator is due to vote this weekend on a bill drafted by the government aimed at implementing a health pass and compulsory vaccination for health workers.