Dutch police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in 2 cities

25 Janvier, 2021, 09:11 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The police remove protesters in Eindhoven

Dutch police clashed with protesters demonstrating against the country's lockdown in the capital, Amsterdam and the southern city of Eindhoven on Sunday, a day after rioting youths protesting the country's curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility in a Dutch fishing village.

Some of the demonstrators threw fireworks and grabbed bicycles to build barricades against the police, who eventually used tear gas to clear the streets, the BBC's Anna Holligan reports from the Netherlands.

Protesters, organised in part by restaurant owners fed up with the country's long-lasting lockdown measures, carried a banner saying "Stop The Lockdown".

Dutch rail company NS urged travelers to avoid the Eindhoven station.

Police used water cannon, dogs and mounted officers to disperse a protest in central Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon, witnesses said.

Fearing a riot or a disease-spreading event, Mayor Femke Halsema had designated the square as a "high-risk zone" and gave police the power to preemptively frisk people for weapons. Almost 200 people, some of them throwing stones and fireworks, were detained in the city, police said.

Police said on Sunday they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9pm on Saturday until 4:30am on Sunday and arrested 25 people for breaching the curfew or for violence. Alleged curfew violators were handed fines of €95 ($116) each.

Police uses a water canon during a protest against restrictions in Amsterdam

Locals in Urk turned against the police en masse after curfew on Saturday night.

In this image made from video, a COVID-19 testing center is seen after being set on fire in Urk, 80 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam, Jan. 23, 2021.

On Sunday, municipal officials deplored the overnight rioting.

"This is not only unacceptable but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test center to help people from Urk", the local authorities said. They had gathered in defiance of a new 21:00 (20:00 GMT) curfew.

"We now have a caretaker government and the political debate is heating up, going into elections in March".

By mid-week, Dutch authorities had vaccinated just 100,000 people.

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