Greek police use tear gas, water canon during Athens vaccine protest


Riot police stand among flare smoke on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations outside the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) -Greek police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a group of people who threw flares and other objects during a protest in central Athens on Sunday against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

More than 7,000 people, some holding crosses, rallied outside the Greek parliament to protest against the inoculations. Similar protests in Athens last month also saw violence.

About 5.7 million people out of a total population of 11 million have been fully vaccinated, and polls have shown that most Greeks favour mandatory vaccination for certain groups such as healthcare workers and nursing home staff.

However, hundreds of Greek frontline workers protested on Thursday against a plan to make inoculations mandatory for the care sector on Sept. 1.

Cases remain high in Greece, which has reported a total of 581,315 cases since the start of the pandemic last year and 13,636 deaths. There were 1,582 new daily cases on Sunday.

(Reporting by Costas Baltas; Writing by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Barbara Lewis)

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