Greece: 5,000 demonstrators against compulsory vaccination of caregivers

About 5,000 people demonstrated in Greece on Wednesday, including 3,000 in central Athens, against the compulsory vaccination of caregivers and nursing home staff, according to police.

On the eve of the vote in parliament on a decree making vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory for these two professional categories, the demonstrators waved placards on which we could read “no to compulsory vaccination”, “freedom” but also to see large Orthodox crosses and Greek flags, according to an AFP photographer and videographer.

The protest in the Greek capital was fraught with tension. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a group of around 120 hooded people who threw projectiles, an AFP videographer observed. The protesters were 2,000 in Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece.

Compulsory vaccination to ward off the Delta variant

Last week, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the obligation for caregivers and nursing home staff to be vaccinated, on pain of being put on sick leave.

The employees of these establishments welcoming the elderly must be vaccinated by August 16 at the latest and caregivers by September 1.

The Greek government has decided to take measures to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated in the face of the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, 99% of patients intubated in hospitals being unvaccinated people.

More than 4.6 million of Greece’s 10.7 million people are fully vaccinated.

But the spread of the Delta variant in this country is worrying. In just two weeks, the number of new cases rose from 800 to 3,000 per day.

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