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French Constitutional Court rules health pass, mandatory vaccination of health workers constitutional amid nationwide protests

France’s top court ruled on Thursday that the new legislation, which tightens the coronavirus restrictions, is largely compliant with the nation’s fundamental law. In particular, the court upheld the provisions that require people to hold a valid ‘health pass’ to access restaurants and bars, and for healthcare workers to be vaccinated against the virus by mid-September.

At the same time, the court considered it to be unconstitutional to fire a healthcare worker on a short-term contract who refuses mandatory Covid vaccination. It also rejected a provision allowing mandatory quarantine with checks for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

The constitutional review of the legislation was requested by Prime Minister Jean Castex, as well as by multiple opposition lawmakers before the law’s enactment scheduled for next Monday.

The controversial legislation was put forward by the French government in July, triggering heated debate and mass protests across the country. Last weekend, over 200,000 people marched through towns and cities across the country protesting the bill, which they say discriminates against the unvaccinated and tramples on individual freedoms.

The government, however, maintains that the main purpose of the legislation is to speed up the mass-vaccination campaign and encourage people to get the shot, rejecting allegations of a slide into “dictatorship.”

“A few tens of thousands of people have lost their minds to such an extent that they are capable of saying we live in a dictatorship,” President Emmanuel Macron told Paris Match in an interview published Wednesday.

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