Seven injured as police open fire on anti-lockdown protesters in the Netherlands

·2-min read
Seven injured as police open fire on anti-lockdown protesters in the Netherlands

Seven people were left injured after police fired warning shots during anti-lockdown demonstrations in the Netherlands.

Riots broke out in downtown Rotterdam on Friday night in reaction to plans by the government to restrict access for unvaccinated people to some indoor public venues.

Local media organisations on the ground reported that at least 20 people have been arrested so far.

Dutch police confirmed that several people had been injured but did not clarify whether they had fired live ammunition or rubber bullets.

Authorities were forced to close the city’s main railway station as rioters started fires and set off fireworks during the violent demonstration.

Disturbing photos on social media show at least one police car ablaze and others being smashed up.

The violent clashes come as the government outlined its intention to introduce a law allowing businesses to restrict the country’s coronavirus pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.

Police fired warning shots, injuring an unknown number of people, as riots broke out Friday night in downtown Rotterdam at a demonstration against plans by the government to restrict access for unvaccinated people to some venues (AP)
Police fired warning shots, injuring an unknown number of people, as riots broke out Friday night in downtown Rotterdam at a demonstration against plans by the government to restrict access for unvaccinated people to some venues (AP)

“The center of our beautiful city has this evening transformed into a war zone,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen but violence is never, never, the solution.”

The government has said it wants to introduce a law that would allow businesses to restrict the country’s coronavirus pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

The pass, which grants access to indoor public venues, is now available to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have tested negative for the virus. Under a proposal put forward by caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, those who test negative would no longer be able to obtain the pass.

The country has seen record numbers of infections in recent days and a new partial lockdown came into force a week ago.

In January, rioting broke out in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities after the government announced a curfew in an attempt to rein in soaring coronavirus infections.

Earlier Friday, the government banned fireworks on December 31 for the second straight year. The ban is intended “to prevent, as much as possible, extra strain on health care, law enforcement and first responders,” the government said Friday.

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