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Police place a face mask on an arrested protester at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on September 5, 2020 during an anti-lockdown rally. Photo: William West/AFP

Anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests aren't a strictly American phenomenon: Demonstrations have broken out around the world — from Australia to France and Israel to Bulgaria.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant surges, governments are increasingly mandating masks and vaccines for many activities . Vaccines have shown to be incredibly effective in preventing severe illness and death.

More than 100,000 people protested across France last month against the government's push to get residents vaccinated against the virus, per PBS.

  • Banging metal spoons on saucepans, protesters yelled, "freedom" and "Macron, clear off!" near the Louvre Museum. “I will never get vaccinated,” one 53-year-old protester said, per PBS.
  • “A few tens of thousands of people have lost their minds to such an extent that they are capable of saying we live in a dictatorship,” President Emmanuel Macron said.

Thousands of people flocked to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities last month to protest lockdown restrictions, bearing signs that called for "freedom" and "the truth," per NPR.

  • Police arrested several of the Australian protesters, some of whom threw plastic bottles and potted plants at the police officers.
  • “Sydney isn’t immune from morons,” New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott said bluntly.

Several hundred Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv against new coronavirus restrictions as cases have risen to troubling levels, the Guardian reports.

As many as 2,000 protesters gathered in a park in The Hague in the Netherlands, objecting to lock-down measures in March — prompting police intervention using a water cannon, per the BBC.

  • "There might be a virus, but the shutdown of the total society is not proportional," one protester, Michel Koot, 68, said, per the BBC.

In Bulgaria, at least eight protesters were arrested in May 2020 after a demonstration broke out in Sofia, where some protesters said the coronavirus was "fake news" and "an international conspiracy," per Barrons.

And of course, in the U.S., anti-vaccine protesters have shut down vaccination sites, gathered at state capitols and staked out at Disneyland — donning assorted Marvel superhero costumes.

Between the lines: Gabriel Scally, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol, told Al Jazeera that protests against pandemic measures are not necessarily surprising.

  • "I think these rallies are relatively small. All the way through the pandemic, we have seen small groups of people who have taken to the streets to express their opposition to various things,” Scally said.
  • "It isn’t anything new. There has been opposition to vaccines in history. It’s new and people are dealing with various issues. There are always a small group of people who are opposed."

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Puerto Rico leads U.S. COVID vaccination rates

A mass vaccination event at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 31. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States as of Oct. 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The island has managed to accomplish such feats amid frequent power outages, earthquakes and high dependence on imports of health technologies from outside the region.

Oct 19, 2021 - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but they updated the report to replace these recommendations with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.