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Vaccine passport protests in Europe draw thousands of people

Thousands of people gathered in European capitals Saturday to protest vaccine passports and other requirements governments have imposed in hopes of ending the coronavirus pandemic.

Demonstrations took place in Helsinki, London, Paris and Stockholm.

In Sweden, where vaccine certificates are required to attend indoor events with more than 50 people, some 3,000 demonstrators marched though central Stockholm and assembled in a main square for a protest organized by the Frihetsrorelsen - or Freedom Movement.

Protestors march as they demonstrate against the coronavirus measures including the vaccine pass, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (Bjorn Larsson RosvallTT News Agency via AP)

Swedish media reported that representatives from the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement attended the action with a banner. Police closely monitor the group, which has been associated with violent behavior at demonstrations.

Swedish security police had warned that right-wing extremists might take part in Saturday's protest. No major incidents or clashes were reported by late afternoon.

A similar demonstration with some 1,000 participants was held also in Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city.

Protestors march as they demonstrate against the coronavirus measures including the vaccine pass, in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (Bjorn Larsson RosvallTT News Agency via AP)

The Finnish government authorized local and regional authorities just before Christmas to introduce “extensive and full measures” in response to rising virus cases involving the omicron variant.

The restrictions included limiting or prohibiting events, moving university classes online, limiting restaurant service and closing venues where people have a higher risk of exposure. Restaurants and events are allowed to require vaccine passports.

Police said some 4,000 people marched Saturday through the streets of central Helsinki to protest. A group called World Wide Demonstration organized the demonstration. No unrest or violence was reported to police.

Demonstrator holds a placard that reads 'No to vaccine pass' in opposition to vaccine pass and vaccinations to protect against COVID-19 during a rally in Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (AP PhotoRafael Yaghobzadeh)

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

Demonstrators, in opposition to vaccine pass and vaccinations to protect against COVID-19 during a rally in Paris, France, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (AP PhotoRafael Yaghobzadeh)(AP PhotoRafael Yaghobzadeh)

Demonstrators march outside Downing Street, during an anti vaccines protest, in London, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.(AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)

A demonstrator holds a placard as she talks with police officers outside Downing Street, during an anti vaccines protest, in London, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.(AP PhotoAlberto Pezzali)