Dutch Lockdown Curfew Riots Continue For Third Night
Riots have continued for a third night in the Netherlands, with protesters clashing with police over a lockdown curfew.
Violence emerged over the weekend following the enforcement of a nighttime curfew from 9.00pm to 4.30am to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly with the rise of new, more infectious variants of the virus.
There’s been more than 949,000 confirmed cases and 13,540 deaths in the Netherlands. More than 5,765 have already been fined for not complying with the curfew, the first in the country since World War II.
Last night, January 25, more than 150 arrests were made. Tear gas and warning shots were also used to try and disperse protesters in a number of locations, though police still came to blows with rioters in the likes of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Geleen.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb issued an emergency decree broadening the police’s powers of arrest, with the council tweeting: ‘The riot police have carried out charges and arrests have been made. There is an urgent request to all to leave the area.’
Police in Rotterdam used water cannons against protesters. On the streets of The Hague, fires were lit as police tried to control rioters throwing rocks at officers.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier condemned the protesters, as per DW, describing the riots as ‘unacceptable… all normal people will regard this with horror. What motivated these people has nothing to do with protesting, it’s criminal violence and we will treat it as such.’
Police union chief Koen Simmers called it the ‘worst rioting in 40 years’. Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma, whose city was hit particularly hard by protesters who smashed windows, torched a car and looted a supermarket at a train station, said: ‘My city is crying, and so am I.’
He described the rioters as ‘the scum of the earth’, adding: ‘I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war.’
Police have been told to prepare for rioting to continue over the coming week, with Simmers adding, as per Al Jazeera: ‘I hope it was a one-off, but I’m afraid it could be a harbinger for the days and weeks to come.’
Anyone caught violating the curfew faces a fine of €95 (£84). People are allowed to break it in certain circumstances, such as going to work, walking the dog or attending funerals, as long as they present a certificate.
All across the Netherlands, schools and non-essential shops have been closed since mid-December, following the shuttering of bars and restaurants two months prior.
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