COVID Testing Centre Burned Down By Lockdown Protestors In Netherlands

by : Emily Brown on : 25 Jan 2021 08:31
Covid Testing Centre Burned Down By Lockdown Protestors In NetherlandsPA Images

Rioters protesting lockdown restrictions in the Netherlands have been accused of burning down a coronavirus testing centre, destroying police cars and throwing bricks and fireworks at officers.

Dutch politicians approved a nationwide curfew last week following assertations that a new variant of the virus, discovered in the UK, would prompt a surge in cases.


The response to the new measures was largely peaceful across the country when it came into effect on Saturday, January 23, but one mob of young protestors hit back in the conservative Dutch fishing village of Urk, situated 50 miles northeast of Amsterdam.

Fire at covid testing centre in the NetherlandsPA Images

Footage taken from the town showed dozens of protestors breaching the 9pm curfew as they gathered at the village’s harbour, with some members of the crowd blaring car and moped horns.

Protestors lit a number of fires, the largest of which was at a drive-through coronavirus testing centre. The building was completely burned and reduced to a shell.


Running until 4.30am, the curfew is the first in the Netherlands since World War II and is enforceable with a €95 fine.

Netherlands lockdown protestsPA Images

Local officials and police issued a statement in response to the protest, saying it was ‘not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test centre to help people from Urk.’

Per The Independent, officials added: ‘The curfew will be strictly enforced for the next week.’


Health Minister Hugo de Jonge denounced the blaze, saying: ‘The fire in a screening centre in Urk goes beyond all limits.’

Urk mayor Cees van den Bos also condemned the actions of the protestors as he described the night as ‘dramatic’, adding: ‘I am so ashamed of what has happened. We want peace in Urk.’

Netherlands lockdown protestsPA Images

Approximately 100 young people gathered in the town of Stein and refused to go home as they lashed out against the restrictions, with some accused of shooting fireworks towards police. More than a dozen people were arrested as a result.


In Rotterdam, Dutch News reports that 50 people were fined for protesting lockdown and the new curfew.

More than 240 people were arrested across the country following the introduction of the curfew, with riot police deployed in at least 10 cities and towns across the country. Local media reports that protestors set fire to vehicles, destroyed public property and threw stones at police officers.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, Restrictions, The Netherlands


The Independent
  1. The Independent

    Rioters set fire to Dutch coronavirus testing centre as new curfew comes into effect