Protesters set out from southern France on Wednesday in what they call a “freedom convoy” that will converge on Paris and Brussels to demand an end to COVID-19 restrictions, inspired by demonstrators who have gridlocked the Canadian capital Ottawa.
Departures are expected from more cities across France on Thursday.
The Paris prefecture said the protesters would be prohibited from entering the capital from Feb. 11-14, citing the risk of public disorder.
In Canada, horn-blaring demonstrations demanding an end to Canadian COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers are now spilling to key Canada-United States border crossings.
Copycat protests have also sprung up in Australia and New Zealand. Protesters waved the Canadian flag as France’s “freedom convoy” got underway.
Motorists who violated the order not to protest within Paris risked two years in prison, a 4,500 euro fine and suspended driver’s license, the prefecture cautioned.