On Sunday, over 8,000 opponents of sanitary restrictions introduced and planned by the government protested in the streets of Brussels. Water cannons and tear gas were used against the aggressive demonstrators who attacked a police cordon in front of the European Commission. Opponents of covid passports protested in Sofia, Bulgaria.
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Demonstrators in Brussels demanded the abolition of the covid passport, which allows, inter alia, access to bars and sports facilities, and expressed their opposition to the government’s planned order to undergo the COVID-19 vaccination. Organized groups of firefighters and nurses also participated in the protest.
Water cannons and tear gas
Water cannons and tear gas were used against the most aggressive demonstrators who attacked a police cordon in front of the European Commission building. There is no information about the injured, both on the part of the police and the protesters.
– We want a democratic approach to this crisis, not modeled on dictatorships. The requirement to have a covid passport is contrary to basic human rights, said one of the initiators of the protest. A similar demonstration took place in Brussels on November 21, when about 35,000 people took to the streets of the city.
Over the past week, the number of coronavirus infections in Belgium increased by 6 percent compared to the previous week. About 75 percent of the country’s population has so far been fully vaccinated.
Protest in Sofia
On Sunday, there was also a demonstration in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. Several hundred protesters walked through the main streets of the capital in front of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health, where the rally was held. One of Sofia’s most important transport arteries was blocked, causing traffic problems.
Demonstrators, who are represented in parliament after the last elections, are calling for the removal of the requirement for covid passports. The same was demanded by the leader of the anti-system Vazrazdane (Rebirth) party, Kostadin Kostadinov, at the first parliamentary session on Friday.
Abolition of the obligation to test children for COVID-19
Another demand by the protesters, most of whom were parents of students, was to waive the obligation to test children for COVID-19 before returning to full-time education. According to the parents, “it is unfair to test healthy children.”
Students in Bulgaria switched to online teaching at the end of October. Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health started to gradually ease the restrictions. First, the children from the first to the fourth grade returned to schools for whom foreign mild tests were introduced. From Monday, all students, including the oldest ones, will be able to start full-time education if they are tested for SARS-CoV-2 once a week.
Parents must give their written consent for the test to be performed. In a radio interview on Sunday, Bulgaria’s minister of education, Nikolai Denkov, informed that 60 percent of parents had already signed the relevant declaration.
However, there is strong anti-vaccination sentiment among a large group of parents, and conspiracy theories are becoming more and more popular. One of them says that biological material is collected for cryptic medical experiments during COVID-19 tests. Such claims are also spread in the media.
Party representatives We continue The changes of the future Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov, announce a broad campaign for vaccination against COVID-19, but stipulate that they will not be mandatory. In Bulgaria, 28 percent of the population is now vaccinated. 28,805 people have died in the country since the start of the pandemic due to coronavirus infection.
Main photo source: OLIVIER HOSLET / PAP / EPA