Hundreds protested against the COVID-19 measures on Sunday, chanting "freedom", "libertà" and "no green passes" as they walked down Republic Street in Valletta.

It was the latest in a number of similar protests that took place over recent weeks when people protested against the compulsory use of vaccination certificates for certain activities.

Since Monday, people need to produce an updated vaccination certificate for entry to most venues, including restaurants, bars and gyms. Certificates are valid for three months from the date of a second vaccine shot, and for nine months from a booster shot. 

On Sunday, some 300 people walked from the parliament building in Valletta to St George's Square as Queen's hits 'I want to break free' and 'We will Rock you' blasted from the speakers.

The protest came just a few hours after Prime Minister Robert Abela said the government will start easing COVID-19 restrictions in the first week of February.

Photo: Matthew MirabelliPhoto: Matthew Mirabelli

Protestors carried signs saying "Leave our kids alone", "I call my own shots" and "Unvaccinated lives matter".

Some of the protesters carried yellow paper stars of David that Jews had been forced to wear by Nazis, to highlight the fact that people are being discriminated against for their vaccine choices. 

Raymondo Ambrogio, one of the coordinators, said despite taking the vaccine and the booster, he is suffering along with those who did not.

"I have friends of mine who can't go out because they decided not to take the booster. We need to have our freedom back, you, me all of us deserve to have the right to choose what we want to do," he said. 

"The situation is desperate and Abela needs to scrap the measures completely," he added.

Similar protests have taken place over the past few weeks. Photo: Matthew MirabelliSimilar protests have taken place over the past few weeks. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Petition to remove Green Pass for restaurants 

During Sunday's protest, organisers called on people to sign a petition against the need for a valid vaccine certificate to enter restaurants.

"We are humans, not a QR code. We are asking everyone to sign this petition to take to parliament and demand the government to remove the use of vaccination certificates at restaurants," one organiser told the crowd. 

Paul R Chetcuti, a member of the 'Freedom Movement' who labels himself a scientist specialising in alternative health treatments and the matrix, called out for people's rights to be brought back. 

Another protester, who is a member of Human Health Alliance, recalled how last year there were only 20 people protesting against COVID-19 vaccines. 

"Last year we were a small group, and the press slandered us, but here we are, in our thousands. We won't be silenced and we won't be stopped."

Young and old joined Sunday's protest. Photo: Matthew MirabelliYoung and old joined Sunday's protest. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

One Irish speaker said Ireland has removed most of its COVID-19 regulations. 

"We will get there here in Malta, but we will still see people trying to stick to the regulations, even once they are lifted," he said. 

The organisers also played an audio message from what they said was an 11-year-old child being bullied because she has not taken the vaccine. 

"Children at my school are bragging that they took it. I have friends who were forced to take it just to visit family abroad. Instead of parents and teachers protecting us, they are doing the opposite, making us take a vaccine which might not be safe," the young child said.

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