world

Europe’s vaccine cards meet resistance

Protests in Italy, France against making COVID-19 passes mandatory for social activities

Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums.

Leaders in both countries see the cards, dubbed the “Green Pass” in Italy and the “health pass” in France, as necessary to boost vaccination rates and persuade the undecided.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi likened the anti-vaccination message from some political leaders to “an appeal to die.”

The looming requirement is working, with vaccination requests booming in both countries.

Still, there are pockets of resistance by those who see it as a violation of civil liberties or have concerns about vaccine safety. About 80,000 people protested in cities across Italy last weekend, while thousands have marched in Paris for the past three weekends, at times clashing with police. More than 200,000 marched across France on Saturday, 14,000 of them in Paris, in the biggest show yet.

Denmark pioneered vaccine passes with little resistance. Belgium will require a vaccine certificate to attend outdoor events with more than 1,500 people by mid-August and indoor events by September.

Germany and Britain have so far resisted a blanket approach, while vaccinations are so popular in Spain that incentives are not deemed necessary.

Many say vaccine pass requirements are a source of inequality that will further divide society, and they draw uneasy historic parallels.

“We are creating a great inequality between citizens,’’ said Simone in Verona because he said he “feared for his livelihood.” “We will have first-class citizens, who can access public services, the theater, social life, and second-class citizens, who cannot. This thing has led to apartheid and the Holocaust.”

Holocaust survivors call the comparison a distortion of history. “They are madness, gestures in poor taste that intersect with ignorance,’’ said Liliana Segre, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and Italian Senator for life.

Source: Read Full Article