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Greek police clash with protesters opposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

ATHENS, GREECE - JULY 24: Anti-vaccine protesters hold a banners and wave flags as they march to the parliament, in Athens, on Saturday, July 24, 2021. Thousands of people protested against Greek government's measures to curb rising COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Dimitris Lampropoulos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.

ATHENS, GREECE – JULY 14: Anti-vaccine protesters take part in a rally on July 14, 2021 in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, Greece two days after the government announced mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all health workers. (Photo by Dimitris Lampropoulos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

A police official, who asked not to be named, said some protesters had thrown petrol bombs, prompting the police to respond with tear gas.

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A rally on Wednesday was also marred by violence.

Read more: Thousands protest in France against COVID-19 vaccinations, passes

Recent polls showed the majority of Greeks would get the shot against the COVID-19 which has claimed 12,890 lives in Greece since the pandemic broke out last year. About 45% of a population of 11 million are fully vaccinated.

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Greece has ordered the vaccination of healthcare and nursing home staff as cases have risen and urged school teachers to get the shot in time for the start of the school year in September.

ATHENS, GREECE – JULY 24: Greek police detain anti-vaccine protesters during a rally at Syntagma square, central Athens, on Saturday, July 24, 2021. Thousands of people protested against Greek government’s measures to curb rising COVID-19 infections. (Photo by Dimitris Lampropoulos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images).

Nearly 2,500 cases were reported on Saturday, bringing the total number of infected people to 474,366.

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— Reporting by Vassilis Triandafyllou; Writing by Angeliki Koutantou

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