Greece: Thousand people protest Covid-19 vaccine mandate

Police use water cannon against demonstrators during a protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations outside the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors who gathered in Athens on Wednesday to oppose the Greek government’s proposed coronavirus vaccine requirements.

The protest in front of the parliament building occurred just hours after the administration proposed legislation to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for nursing home and care facility personnel, according to The Associated Press.

Staff employees might be suspended without pay beginning in mid-August if they do not comply, according to the draft bill.

Officers used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators who tried to break past a police barrier.

Several thousand people also took part in a protest rally in Athens, Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki.

About 1,500 people took part in the protest outside parliament, the second in a week against Greece’s COVID-19 inoculation drive. A rally last Wednesday drew more than 5,000 people, some of them waving Greek flags and wooden crosses, according to Reuters.

Vaccinations already were made mandatory for rescue personnel employed by the country’s Fire Service, which began transferring non-vaccinated members of its rescue service to other departments this week.

Roughly 45% of Greece’s population has received two vaccine doses, according to daily public health data.

Infections in Greece have been rising in recent weeks, and authorities reported almost 3,000 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 463,473 people. More than 12,800 have died.

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