Riots erupt in Netherlands during protests over lockdown curfew

Riots erupted in the Netherlands over the weekend after a night-time curfew to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was imposed.
Anti-lockdown protesters looted stores, set fires and clashed with police in several cities on Sunday, Dutch media reported.

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Police used water cannon, dogs and mounted officers to disperse a protest in central Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon, witnesses said.

Image: Dutch riot police spray water cannon to disprese protesters in Amsterdam. Pic: AP images
Nearly 200 people, some of them throwing stones and fireworks, were detained in the city, according to police.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned the demonstrations as “unacceptable”.

He said: “This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that’s how we’ll treat it.”

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In Eindhoven, rioters torched a car, threw rocks and fireworks at police, smashed windows and looted a supermarket at the southern city’s railway station.

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Police were forced to ride away from protesters in the Dutch city of Eindhoven after an anti-lockdown protest turned violent.

“My city is crying, and so am I,” Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma told media on Sunday night.
In a press conference, he called the rioters “the scum of the earth” adding: “I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war.”
In the eastern city of Enschede, rioters threw rocks at the windows of a hospital and on Saturday night, youngsters in the village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing facility.

Image: A coronavirus testing facility was torched in the village of Urk in the Netherlands by rioters. Pic: AP Photo/Pro News
Police in the southern province of Limburg said military police were sent as reinforcements to two cities.
The rioting followed the introduction of a new national 9pm to 4.30am curfew – the first since World War Two – over fears the UK variant of COVID-19 may lead to an increase in cases.
Schools and non-essential shops in the Netherlands have been shut since mid-December, following the closure of bars and restaurants two months earlier.
Civic leaders said the violence was not the work of citizens concerned about their civil liberties.
Police said they had handed out about 3,600 fines for curfew violations over the weekend.

Image: Police patrol the protests in Amsterdam. Pic: AP images
New infections in the Netherlands have generally been declining over the past month, and fell again on Sunday, to 4,924 new cases.
There have been 13,646 deaths in the country from COVID-19 and more than 962,000 infections, according to John Hopkins University.

Source : Sky News