Tear gas fired during Greek protest against vaccine rules

Officers fire tear gas and water cannon after protesters try to break through police cordon

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who gathered on Wednesday in Athens to oppose coronavirus vaccination requirements proposed by the Greek government.

The demonstration in front of the Parliament building took place hours after the government submitted legislation to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees at nursing homes and care facilities.

Under the draft bill, staff members could be suspended without pay starting in mid-August if they failed to comply.

Officers fired the tear gas and water cannon after protesters tried to break through a police cordon.

Several thousand people also joined a protest rally in Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki.

Vaccinations already were made mandatory for rescue personnel employed by the country’s fire brigade, which began transferring non-vaccinated members of its rescue service to other departments this week.

The Greek government is worried that slowing vaccination rates will hurt the country’s economic recovery after a steep recession last year caused by lockdowns and the pandemic’s effects on the tourism industry.

About 45 per cent of the country’s population has received two vaccine doses, daily public health data shows.

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 1:14 AM