As the 2020 Olympics continue in Tokyo with no spectators in sight, protests against COVID-19 vaccine passports and other draconian measures across Europe and around the world continue to stir unrest and draw massive crowds. The demonstrations highlight the growing global conflict between the flip-flopping advice of the World Health Organization, the CDC, and other public health agencies and individuals fighting to defend their right to make personal health decisions for themselves and their families. 

United Kingdom

Thousands of protesters gathered in central London last Saturday to protest government COVID-19 mandates. The London demonstration, part of a global movement against severe coronavirus restrictions known as the Worldwide Rally For Freedom, saw an enormous crowd forming in the city’s Trafalgar Square to protest mask mandates, business restrictions, and vaccines passports, among other government restrictions.

In attendance was David Icke, media personality Katie Hopkins, and Piers Corbyn, whose brother is former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Speakers at the rally compared the government measures to the Holocaust. Referencing the military tribunals for prominent leaders in Nazi Germany known as the Nuremberg trials, Kate Shemirani, a former nurse who was removed from the Nursing and Midwifery Council in June after being accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19, said at the rally, “Get their names [of doctors and nurses]. Email them to me. With a group of lawyers, we are collecting all that. At the Nuremberg trials, the doctors and nurses stood trial, and they hung. If you are a doctor or a nurse, now is the time to get off that bus … and stand with us, the people.”

Italy

Thousands of protesters peacefully gathered in Rome, Milan, Verona, and other Italian cities over the past several days following the Italian parliament’s decision to impose “green pass” restrictions on unvaccinated people in the country, including tourists.

The protesters included families with young children, medical doctors who said they are risking their jobs not to get vaccinated, and people who likened the Green Pass decision to decisions by fascist dictatorships.

The pass, which is a digital or paper certificate, will be available to those who have had at least one vaccine dose. The pass will also be available to anyone who presents proof of a negative test taken within 48 hours before accessing any of the activities under restriction, as well as those who have recently recovered from Covid-19. Beginning Aug. 6th, the pass will be required to go to sports stadiums, gyms, swimming pools, museums, spas, casinos, and cinemas. Eating in indoor restaurants will also require a pass.

France

Hundreds of thousands of people in France are protesting against President Emmanuel Macron and the nation’s parliament mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all health care workers and against a bill taking effect in August requiring everyone to have a special COVID-19 pass to enter restaurants. The demonstrators chanted “Freedom, freedom,” while carrying placards denouncing “Macron, Tyrant,” “Big Pharma shackles freedom” or saying “No to the pass of shame.”

The law declares all workers in the health care sector must start getting vaccinated by Sept. 15th or risk suspension. Currently, visitors going to museums, cinemas, or swimming pools in the country are already denied entry if they cannot produce a pass showing that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a recent negative test. The pass has been required for large-scale festivals or to go clubbing.

The nation’s Constitutional Council—the country’s top jurisdiction—indicated it would issue its ruling on Aug. 5th. The council has the authority to send laws back to the government for changes. Depending on the virus situation, the rules are set to be in effect through Nov. 15th.  

Greece

In Athens, Greece, thousands of people demonstrated against COVID-19 vaccines last week, carrying wooden crosses and signs with slogans such as “Don’t touch our children.” Police used teargas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Anti-vaccine demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations in Athens, Greece [Costas Baltas/Reuters]
The protests followed the government’s announcement that COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory in more public-facing roles, including all nursing home staff. Under the bill, employees could be suspended without pay starting mid-August if they refuse to comply. The vaccines are already mandatory for Fire Service personnel. Several thousand people also joined a rally in Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki. 

Australia

Thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities last weekend to protest ongoing lockdown restrictions following the government’s announcement of another surge in COVID-19 cases. They held banners, including one that read, “This is not about a virus, it’s about total government control of the people.”

New South Wales Police said it acknowledged and supported the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, adding that the protest was a breach of public health orders. Several people were arrested, and police are gearing up for more protests this weekend, with up to 1,000 police officers ready to meet anti-lockdown protesters. Over half of the country is on lockdown. Greater Sydney has been locked down for the past four weeks and residents are not allowed to leave home without a reasonable excuse.

Germany

In Germany, around 65,000 people filled the streets of Berlin last weekend to celebrate the 43rd edition of Christopher Street Day. Since the event’s debut in 1979, the gay community has used the platform to broadcast its political agenda, fight for equality, and push to expand the definition of diversity. 

Despite allowing the Christopher Street Day celebration, authorities have announced they prohibit the anti-COVID-19 restrictions movement Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) scheduled for this weekend. Nonetheless, the group plans to hold demonstrations in Berlin on Jul. 31st and Aug. 1st. Last year, at a rally for freedom, peace, free expression, and respect, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke in Berlin to over one million people from every nation in Europe.

Currently, Germany is beginning to carefully reopen after several strict lockdowns since March 2020. Visitors must complete a digital registration form before traveling to the country. Following spikes in winter and spring, case numbers dropped as it ramped up its vaccination program. However, the country reports significant concerns about the Delta variant, which has resulted in the federal government clamping down on travel from the U.K. and Portugal. Across the country, medical-grade FFP2 masks, not surgical masks or face coverings, are a legal requirement in shops and on public transit.

People Are Speaking Up Globally

Protests against lockdowns, masks, and vaccine passports—although not reported by the mainstream media—have been erupting around the world for months. Here in the United States, a large crowd gave a standing ovation earlier this week after St. Louis Council voted to end a mask mandate. In Thailand, protesters, who state they resent the government’s mismanagement of the economy and the pandemic, are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. In Ireland, over 1,500 protesters gathered last week holding anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine passport signs, calling the vaccine program “genocide.”