Protest against compulsory vaccination in Tahiti

An estimated 2,500 people protested against a compulsory vaccination law in French Polynesia over the weekend.

Lawmakers last month passed legislation making vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory for anyone dealing with the public and individuals deemed to be vulnerable.

They have been given two months to be inoculated or risk a fine of $US1,700 and a suspension of their work contracts.

Legal challenges are being mounted in both French Polynesia and in France's highest court to quash the law adopted in Tahiti.

The new law will come into force on 23 October.

"Today we impose the vaccine on employees, tomorrow it will be on children," protest organiser Nicole Sanquer said.

Another protestor Titaua Erickson, a 69 year old teacher, voiced a lack of trust in the authorities.

"We are not being told the truth about the hospital figures, I have the impression that it is to instill a climate of fear and force us to be vaccinated," Erickson said.

Organisers of the protests were received at the French High Commission and then at the residency of the President. However, they were not able to meet with President Edouard Fritch as they had hoped.

The organisers presented a petition against compulsory vaccination, bearing several thousand signatures.

The news agency, AFP, reports the Covid-19 outbreak in Tahiti has killed 693 people, three quarters of the fatalities have occurred in the past six weeks.

However, the vaccination uptake has been marred by a sense of mistrust, with only 46 percent of 280,000 inhabitants having received both doses.

A curfew currently remains in force, although restrictions are gradually being lifted. Schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday local time.