Dutch riot over right to cool themselves from fire hydrants as heatwave rages

Kate Ng
·1-min read
A view of a burning dumpster and other waste containers as a police officer keeps watch in the Schilderswijk neighborhood in The Hague, the Netherlands: EPA
A view of a burning dumpster and other waste containers as a police officer keeps watch in the Schilderswijk neighborhood in The Hague, the Netherlands: EPA

Dutch police have arrested more than 20 people after rioters took to the streets in The Hague to protest the ban on using fire hydrants to cool off during a heatwave.

Large groups of youths threw eggs, stones and fireworks at police during a second night of unrest.

Officers said in a statement those arrested had committed offences including incitement, public violence and assaulting a police officer.

The Hague’s mayor, Jan van Zanen, visited the neighbourhood on Wednesday to show his support for locals, reported Dutch News.

But the unrest continued, prompting the municipality to impose an emergency order that gave police extra powers to detain people in an effort to restore peace.

The clashes began after water authorities acted to stop people from opening fire hydrants to cool off and find relief during a record week-long heatwave, which saw temperatures exceed 30C for several days.

This week was the hottest week on record in the Netherlands with a seven-day average temperature of 33.1C. The previous record was an average of 32C, set in 1976.

In the early hours of Friday, two police vehicles were damaged by rioters. Calm was restored in The Hague by morning.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Additional reporting by AP