paris protest lockdown
A massive protest has been staged in Paris by entertainment sector workers as France emerges from its second coronavirus lockdown. Yet, the authorities have opted not to reopen cultural venues, citing risks of the virus spread.

The protest, organized by entertainment workers' trade unions, took place on Tuesday afternoon in central Paris. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the iconic Place de la Bastille, expressing their anger over the government's decision to postpone reopening of cultural venues till early 2021.

The protesters chanted such slogans as "let's bring culture out of lockdown," demanding the reopening of various cultural venues, as well as supporting artists left without income due to the pandemic. Placards reading "We're going to die and not even on stage," "Culture is essential food" and others were displayed during the event.

France is emerging from its second nationwide coronavirus lockdown, imposed back on October 30. While various restrictions are lifted and a stay-at-home order is replaced with a nighttime curfew, the country's concert halls, theaters, cinemas, museums, as well as sporting venues will remain closed until at least January 7.

The country has been aiming to get its number of new daily coronavirus cases below the 5,000 threshold during the lockdown, yet failed to achieve this goal.

"We have still not exited the second wave," Health Minister Olivier Veran admitted last week.

While the authorities justified the move as necessary to "avoid increasing public crowd flows, concentrations, and intermingling," the entertainment sector workers have been angered by the decision. The industry, already battered by the coronavirus pandemic, is now set to miss the Christmas holiday season, which is generally very lucrative for entertainers.