Third night of riots erupts over Dutch covid-19 rules

AMSTERDAM, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands on Sunday, the third night in a row that police clashed with crowds of angry youths who set fire and threw stones to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

Riots were reported in places including Leeuwarden and Groningen in the north, the eastern city of Enschede and Tilburg in the south. In Enschede, where an emergency ordinance was issued, police used batons to try to disperse a crowd, according to video on social media. In Leeuwarden, police cars with stones and black-clad groups were chanted and triggered flares.

In response to the worst unrest since a full shutdown led to widespread disorder and more than 500 arrests in January, police said five policemen had been injured overnight Saturday and at least 64 people were jailed in three provinces, including dozens who threw fireworks and fences during a football match at Feyenoord Rotterdam stadium.

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The latest unrest began on Friday night in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during a protest that the city’s mayor said had turned into “an orgy of violence”.

Protesters gather at Cafe del Mondo during demonstrations against measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, November 20, 2021. REUTERS / Eva Plevier

Four people believed to have been hit by police bullets remained in hospital on Sunday, according to a statement from the authorities. Read more

The protests were sparked by opposition to the government’s plans to restrict the use of a national corona passport to people who have either recovered from covid-19 or been vaccinated, excluding those with negative test results.

The Netherlands reintroduced certain lock-in measures for its 17.5 million inhabitants last weekend in the first three weeks in an attempt to slow down a recovery of the virus, but daily infections have remained at the highest levels since the pandemic began. Read more

Some young people also became angry about a fireworks ban on New Year’s Eve to avoid increased pressure on hospitals that have already been forced to cut back on care due to an increase in the number of covid-19 patients. Read more

Among the most serious confrontations on Saturday night were those in The Hague, where the five policemen were injured, one of them seriously, according to a police statement. Police carried out charges on horseback and arrested 19 people, one of them for throwing a stone through the window of a passing ambulance.

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Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Additional reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; Edited by Kirsten Donovan and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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