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Thousands protest in Athens against coronavirus vaccination

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Lockdown in Athens
Photo: Anadolu Agency / Collaborator / Getty Images

More than 5,000 anti-vaccination protesters, some of them with Greek flags and wooden crosses, gathered in Athens on Wednesday to protest against Greece’s coronavirus vaccination program.

“Take your shots and get out of here!” Protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis rallied in front of parliament amid heavy police presence.

This Wednesday’s protest was the biggest protest against vaccination. A recent Pulse poll for Sky TV revealed that a majority of Greeks said they would receive the vaccine and that some sections of the population were in favor of compulsory immunization.

About 41% of Greeks have been vaccinated. The government on Monday ordered compulsory immunizations for health workers and nursing home workers in the wake of a sharp rise in new Kovid-19 infections in the middle of the tourist season.

“Everyone has the right to choose. Who called for the protest? He started the group in response to the government’s crackdown on the virus,” said Fidon Vovolis, a cardiologist who has challenged scientific research into face masks and vaccines and led the “Free Again” movement.

Protests are very common in Greece, and there have been several months in recent months on issues ranging from the new labor law to the latest Israeli military action in Gaza.

In a country of 11 million people, more than 444,700 people have been infected since the outbreak began. 12,782 died. About 3,000 new ones were registered online by authorities on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Vasilis Triantafillo and Alkis Constantinidis by Carolina Tagaris; editing by Aurora Ellis)

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