Netherlands has second night of violent protests against anti-Covid measures

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Netherlands has second night of violent protests against anti-Covid measures

Five police officers were injured and at least 40 people were arrested this Saturday (20) in the Netherlands, the second night of violent protests against anti-Covid measures. Police used water cannons, dogs and mounted agents to stop protesters from setting fires and throwing fireworks.

The protests began on Friday night (19) in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on the crowd. The city’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, called the demonstrations an “orgy of violence”.

Three people hit by gunfire were still in hospital on Sunday, a statement from authorities said.

Protesters oppose government plans to restrict the use of a health pass to people who have recovered from Covid or are vaccinated, excluding those who test negative for the virus.

Last weekend, the Netherlands again imposed some blockade measures on its population of 17.5 million, lasting at least three weeks. This is an effort to stop the virus from spreading, but daily infections have remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Many people are also opposed to banning the use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve. The measure aims to avoid additional pressure on hospitals as the number of Covid patients increases.

Some of the most serious clashes on Saturday night were in The Hague, where five police officers were injured, one of them seriously, a statement from authorities said. Police carried out actions on horseback and arrested 19 people, one of them for throwing a stone through the window of an ambulance.

Two Eredivisie league football matches, which were closed to the public under Covid’s strictest restrictions, were briefly interrupted on Saturday night when small groups of fans forced their way into stadiums and set off fireworks.

Another 13 arrests were reported by police in two cities in the southern province of Limburg, while disturbances were also reported in the northern province of Flevoland. Eight people were detained in the city of Urk, where a Covid test station burned down earlier this year.

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