Rotterdam [Netherlands]: At least 20 protesters were arrested and seven people, including police officers, were injured during the rally against COVID-19 restrictions in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, NL Times reported on Saturday.
The Rotterdam rally began on Friday against new restrictions announced last week. In the evening, the police used water cannons and fired warning shots to disperse the crowd. Local media reported several people injured during the clashes. “There are clear images of many suspects. We will continue investigations,” Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said, as quoted in the report. The mayor called the protests “an orgy of violence.”
Acting Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus condemned the unrest and called for punishment of protesters who exercised violence.
“Watching the unrest and extreme violence towards police officers, special military units and firefighters that happened last night, was terrifying. Men and women who go on the streets daily for our safety, are attacked, and rocks and fireworks are thrown at them. Journalists also faced violence,” Grapperhaus was quoted as saying on the government’s website.
He confirmed that several protesters were arrested and warned more arrests in the coming days.
Last week, acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte introduced a new set of restrictive measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 that will be effective until December 4. The restrictions obligate essential shops and supermarkets as well as drugstores, restaurants, cafes, and bars to close at 8 p.m. Other shops, hairdressing and beauty salons should close at 6 p.m. Sporting events should be held without spectators, but the restrictions do not affect concert halls, movies, and theaters. Social distancing of 1.5 meters (5 feet) was reimposed and people were recommended to work from home.