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Greek police, protesters clash in protest against COVID vaccines

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Demonstrators hold a Greek flag during a protest against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations outside the parliament building, in Athens, Greece, July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS, July 21 (Reuters) - Police fired tear gas and water canon to disperse crowds protesting against coronavirus vaccinations in Athens on Wednesday.

About 1,500 people took part in the protest outside parliament, the second in a week against Greece's COVID-19 inoculation drive. A rally last Wednesday drew more than 5,000 people, some of them waving Greek flags and wooden crosses.

The protests were prompted by a government decision earlier in July ordering the mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers and nursing home staff. The government has suggested other groups, such as teachers, may need to be vaccinated in the fall.

Infections in Greece have been rising in recent weeks, and authorities reported almost 3,000 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 463,473 people. More than 12,800 have died.

Reporting by Vassilis Tryandafyllou; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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