Vaccination is not mandatory in Lebanon, yet as cases continue to rise, people have expressed their issues with protocols against the unvaccinated. 

The protests, which took place on Saturday, occurred a day after the new daily number of cases hit a record 7,974, the Associated Press reports. Almost 300 people gathered in downtown Beirut to emphasize their frustrations. 

Lebanese authorities have inaugurated new protocols for those who have not received their COVID-19 shots, including the need for vaccination proof, or a negative PCR test for admission into hotels, restaurants, and other indoor venues.

“No to the dictatorship of vaccination,” was displayed on one sign carried by the protesters. 

Health Minister Firass Abiad took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the protests. 

“Vaccines are not mandatory, and are free,” he said. “They are offered to everyone, including refugees and foreign migrant workers.”

Abiad also clarified that a government campaign prioritizing teachers and students allowed more than 20,000 people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“Vaccines save lives,” he added in his tweet. “But for some, ignorance is bliss.”