Protests in France continue to grow after Macron enacts new COVID-19 measures

Protesters took to the streets in France on Saturday following new COVID-19 measures that French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronFrench parliament approves COVID-19 passes for restaurants, domestic travel WhatsApp chief: US allies' national security officials targeted with NSO malware US athletes chant 'Dr. Biden' as first lady cheers swimmers MORE announced on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Macron said earlier this week that all health care workers had to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15 or would face suspension without pay. Additionally, he said all residents had to start using a health pass showing proof they had been vaccinated, had a recent negative test or were recovering from COVID-19 before going to certain public places such as shopping malls, restaurants and planes.

Protesters marched in the cities of Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille and elsewhere, and some argued that the government was encroaching on their ability to choose whether they wanted to get the vaccine, Reuters noted

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According to data from the World Health Organization, France had 3,616 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday and had reached a particularly high number of cases on Thursday, with 8,748 cases confirmed. The country last saw fewer than a thousand cases on July 6, though COVID-19 cases had been trending upward more so at the beginning of July.

As of Friday, 55 percent of people in France have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 44 percent have had both doses, Reuters reported.

Saturday's protests come after demonstrators on Wednesday, coinciding with France's Bastille Day, set mechanical diggers on fire and tipped over garbage cans, prompting police to use tear gas, Reuters reported.

Greece had announced similar measures on Monday, saying that health care workers will face suspension if they do not get vaccinated, The Associated Press reported. Starting Aug. 16, nursing home staff will face suspension if they have not made an appointment to get vaccinated. Staff at hospitals will face a similar dilemma in September.

The decision in Greece also prompted protests earlier this week, Reuters reported.