Paris police thwart the advance of protesters against the virus in the capital | world news
By THOMAS ADAMSON, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Paris police intercepted at least 500 vehicles attempting to enter the French capital on Saturday, in defiance of a police order, to participate in protests against virus restrictions inspired by Canada’s horn ” Freedom Convoy”.
Police said on Twitter that several convoys were blocked from entering the city’s main thoroughfares and more than 200 motorists were ticketed.
Elsewhere, at least two protesters were arrested amid a seizure of knives, hammers and other items in a central Paris square.
Some 7,000 officers were mobilized for the weekend protests. Police set up checkpoints, deployed armored personnel carriers and installed water cannons to prepare the city for protests. So far, the police blocking action has appeared to be effective.
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Against the vaccination pass that France requires to enter restaurants and many other places, protesters tried to sneak into Paris from the north, south, east and west, saluting and honking their horns spectators from their car windows. Some convoys sought to avoid detection by police on Friday by taking local roads instead of the main highways leading to the capital.
Waving French flags and shouting “freedom,” protesters organized in a line, galvanized in part by truckers who blockaded Canada’s capital and blocked border crossings. The French action has no single leader or focus and comes as months of protests against the French government’s vaccination rules have waned.
It is not only in France that such protests are being prepared. Dozens of trucks and other vehicles, ranging from tractors to a car towing a caravan, arrived in The Hague on Saturday morning as part of a “freedom convoy”, blocking an entrance to the historic parliament complex.
A group of protesters joined the truckers carrying a banner emblazoned with the Dutch words “Love and freedom, not dictatorship”.
Police urged protesters to a park, where the municipality said they could demonstrate, and warned the public about traffic problems in the city.
Mike Corder in Ede, Netherlands, contributed
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