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ROME – Italian police used a water cannon on Saturday to push back hundreds of people demonstrating in Rome against coronavirus vaccination, trying to keep them away from the prime minister’s office.

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Around 10,000 people took to the streets in the heart of the Italian capital to protest against the Green Pass, a digital or paper certificate that shows that someone has received at least one dose of the vaccine, tested negative for COVID-19 or was recently recovered from the virus. local media reported.

A few hundred protesters made their way to the prime minister’s office, they said.

Police lined up with riot gear to contain the protesters, who are backed by far-right groups, Italian media said.

The protests come just days before the Green Pass law, which makes it mandatory for all workers, takes effect in the latest effort by Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s broad coalition to persuade citizens to get vaccinated.

Italy has the second highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe after Britain, with more than 130,000 people dying from the disease since the pandemic emerged in early 2020.

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Under the new law, any worker who does not present a valid health certificate will be suspended without pay, but cannot be fired.

Around 80% of all Italians over the age of 12 are now fully vaccinated and the vast majority of people seem to support the inoculation campaign and the use of the Green Pass.

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