Protests against Corona restrictions in the Netherlands have seen rioting for the second night in a row. In The Hague late Saturday night, hundreds of people set fire to bicycles and threw stones and other objects at police officers. There were several arrests. The previous evening there had been riots in the port city of Rotterdam with several injured and dozens of arrests.
Protesters in The Hague also threw firecrackers at police officers. Police pushed back groups of protesters and used a water cannon to put out a fire at a busy intersection. Mounted police and officers on bicycles patrolled The Hague. Several arrests were made.
The operator of a pizza takeaway in The Hague told AFP the protesters were angry about the partial lockdown and restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, police officers did not remain calm either, he said. They pulled people out of his store and "hit me on the head for no reason," Ferdi Yilmaz said.
As reported by the public broadcaster NOS, young demonstrators also threw objects at police in the central Dutch town of Urk and in towns in the southern province of Limburg. Already on Friday evening, there had been riots at a protest rally in Rotterdam.
Rioters threw stones at police officers and firefighters, set off fireworks, and set fire to electric scooters. Police officers first fired warning shots and then aimed shots. At least seven people were injured, two of them suffered gunshot wounds. Whether these were caused by police bullets is still under investigation, according to police. Several police officers were among those injured. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb spoke of an "orgy of violence."
51 people were arrested, according to police. About half of them were minors, he said. The search for more rioters continues, he said. According to police, the demonstrators had come to the protests in Rotterdam from different parts of the country.
Rumors circulating on online networks that there had been one fatality at the demonstration were denied by the police. Dutch Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus called the "extreme violence against police officers, riot police, and firefighters" "appalling" and announced a crackdown on rioters.
A protest rally held during the day in Amsterdam on Saturday remained largely calm. It was attended by several thousand people on Saturday. About 1,000 more opponents of the Corona restrictions gathered in the city of Breda near the Belgian border. "People want to live, that's why we are here," said protest organizer Joost Eras.
In the Netherlands, a partial lockdown has been in effect again for a week because of rising Corona infection figures. Citizens are only allowed to meet with a maximum of four other people in their homes, and employees are to work in their home offices if possible. Businesses must close earlier. In addition, a 2G regulation is currently being planned for some locations. This would mean that only vaccinated and recovered people would have access there.
Demonstrations against restrictions to curb the new Corona wave also took place in other countries over the weekend. In Vienna, tens of thousands of people protested on Saturday against the lockdown that will take effect across Austria on Monday and the introduction of a Corona vaccination requirement. Thousands of critics of Corona restrictions also took to the streets in Croatia's capital, Zagreb. In Denmark's capital Copenhagen, about a thousand people took part in such a protest, and in Sweden's capital Stockholm, several hundred.
Following violent protests against Corona measures in the French overseas territory of Guadeloupe, elite soldiers were dispatched to monitor compliance with a nighttime curfew. Demonstrations against Corona measures with thousands of participants were also held in Sydney and other Australian cities.