Police in Athens have broken up a protest outside the Greek parliament by using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. The protest was in response to the government’s announcement of mandatory vaccination for some.
A crowd of more than 3,500 protesters gathered on Wednesday in Syntagma Square, outside the Hellenic Parliament in Athens. After being asked to leave, some protesters threw bottles and other projectiles at police officers, Greek news channel Kathimerini reported.
Police responded with tear gas, flash grenades and a truck-mounted water cannon. Videos shared on social media captured the crackdown.
#BREAK⚠️❗ The tense situation tonight in front of the Greek parliament in Athens. Police use water cannons and tear gas to disperse a demonstration against the vaccination pass. #Greece#Athens – Sputnik pic.twitter.com/c9NKBcuqej
– Fra 🇮🇹🗣️ (@FrancescComito) July 21, 2021
Some protesters wore religious clothing and grabbed icons, while others waved flags and handed out leaflets for right-wing political movements, according to another report from Kathimerini. Clashes were also reported outside the University of Athens and in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
Similar protests erupted last week after the Greek government ordered mandatory Covid vaccination of health workers and nursing home staff. Those who refuse the jabs could have their wages withheld, and the government has not ruled out extending the requirement to other workers in the fall.
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Greece is not the only country to make it mandatory for part of the population to be vaccinated against the corona virus. France and Italy have both introduced mandatory vaccination for health professionals, while the UK will soon require citizens to show proof of vaccination before entering nightclubs and other crowded social spaces.
As police officers dispersed the crowd in Syntagma Square, the Greek National Public Health Organization announced that 2,972 new cases of Covid-19 had been registered in the previous 24 hours, along with three deaths. The daily number of cases has risen significantly in Greece since early June, when there were fewer than 500 on most days. The death toll this month is now at its lowest level since last year.
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