ATHENS (AP) – Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who gathered in Athens on Wednesday to oppose the Greek government’s proposed COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
The demonstration in front of Parliament came hours after the government presented a proposal to make it mandatory to get vaccinated against COVID-19 for employees of nursing homes and care centers.
Under the proposal, the staff members of such establishments could be suspended without pay starting in mid-August if they do not comply.
Police fired tear gas and used water cannons after protesters tried to break through the police cordon.
Several thousand people also took part in a protest in Thessaloniki, the second most populous city in Greece.
The COVID-19 vaccine is already mandatory for rescue personnel employed by the nation’s Fire Service, which this week began transferring unvaccinated members of its rescue service to other departments.
The Greek government is concerned that slow vaccination will hurt the nation’s economic recovery after last year’s severe recession caused by lockdowns and the impact the pandemic had on the tourism sector.
Approximately 45% of the country’s population has received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to official data.
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