COVID protests in Netherlands flip violent for a second night time

Fresh rioting has damaged out within the Netherlands over the Dutch authorities’s coronavirus measures, with protesters pelting police with stones and fireworks in The Hague.

Officers in riot gear charged at teams of demonstrators late on Saturday night time, whereas a water cannon was used to place out a pile of blazing bicycles at a busy intersection.

Five cops have been injured, and at the least seven folks have been arrested.

Riots additionally erupted within the central “Bible Belt” city of Urk and cities in southern Limburg province, whereas indignant followers disrupted two soccer matches being performed behind closed doorways due to coronavirus rules, in line with Dutch media.

The first division matches within the western metropolis of Alkmaar and the jap metropolis of Almelo, between AZ-NEC and Heracles-Fortuna Sittard needed to be stopped for a number of minutes, Dutch media stated.

The unrest got here a day after police opened fireplace on protesters in Rotterdam amid what the port metropolis’s mayor known as “an orgy of violence” that broke out at a protest towards COVID-19 restrictions.

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At least three folks have been wounded and 51 arrested in Rotterdam.

It was one of many worst outbreaks of violence within the Netherlands since coronavirus measures have been first imposed final 12 months. In January, rioters additionally attacked police and set fires on the streets of Rotterdam after a curfew got here into pressure.

Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus condemned the occasions.

“The riots and extreme violence against police officers, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are disgusting to see,” he stated in a press release.

“Protesting is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is simply criminal behavior. It has nothing to do with demonstrating,” he added.

An impartial investigation into the shootings by police was opened, as is the case every time Dutch police use their weapons.

The Netherlands reimposed some lockdown measures final weekend for an preliminary three weeks in an effort to sluggish a resurgence of coronavirus contagion, however each day infections have remained at their highest ranges for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

The Dutch authorities is now planning to ban unvaccinated folks from coming into some venues, the so-called 2G possibility.

Protestors dance throughout an indication towards COVID-19 measures in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 20, 2021 [Eva Plevier/ Reuters]
Protestors collect at Cafe del Mondo throughout demonstrations towards COVID-19 measures in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 20, 2021 [Eva Plevier/ Reuters]

In The Hague on Saturday, a pizza store proprietor instructed the AFP information company that police had dragged a number of folks out of his store, smashed the glass in its entrance door and hit him on the top for “no reason”.

“These people out here are protesting about 2G and the lockdown,” Ferdi Yilmaz stated. “They are angry about it.”

AFP correspondents reported seeing police arrest a number of folks within the working class Schilderswijk neighbourhood of The Hague, with plainclothes officers at one level dragging a lady out of a automotive.

In a press release, The Hague police stated the 5 injured officers included one who was taken to hospital struggling concussion and two others who suffered listening to harm from loud fireworks.

A rock thrown by rioters smashed the window of a passing ambulance carrying a affected person, they stated.

Earlier on Saturday, peaceable protests involving 1000’s of individuals against the coronavirus curbs occurred in a number of cities.

In Amsterdam, a number of thousand protesters confirmed up for a march across the metropolis’s central Dam sq., regardless of one group having cancelled their rally due to the earlier night time’s violence.

The march remained peaceable, monitored by a heavy police presence.

Another thousand marched by way of the southern metropolis of Breda near the Belgian border, carrying banners with slogans corresponding to “No Lockdown”.

Organisers stated they opposed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s plans to exclude the unvaccinated from bars and eating places.

“People want to live, that’s why we’re here,” stated organiser Joost Eras.

But “we’re not rioters. We come in peace,” he stated.

Around him, the temper was festive, with some protesters dancing behind floats carrying DJs, dubbed “party buses”.