The Hague | Clashes with the police and looting broke out on Sunday in several cities in the Netherlands on the sidelines of protests against the curfew in place since Saturday to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Dutch media and local authorities.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
Incidents have been reported in particular in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, The Hague, Breda, Arnhem, Tilburg, Enschede, Appeldoorn, Venlo and Ruremond.
A water cannon and police dogs were deployed to Museumplein, a square in central Amsterdam, to disperse hundreds of protesters, according to public television NOS.
At least 100 people were arrested on the sidelines of the rally, said Sunday, in a statement, the Amsterdam city hall, which estimates the number of demonstrators present Sunday in the capital at around 1,500.
According to local AT5 television, security has been stepped up around the official residence of Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema as the area has been cordoned off with a police cordon.
In The Hague, in the Schilderswijk district, several fires were reported and a police officer was filmed fleeing from a group of people gathered, according to public television NOS.
In Eindhoven, in the south of the country, the police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of several hundred people, according to regional television Omroep Brabant.
Several vehicles were set on fire and businesses in Eindhoven Central Station were looted, according to Omroep Brabant.
“At least thirty people have been arrested,” Eindhoven police told AFP, saying they did not have a record of any injured.
“I think that if we go down this path, we are heading towards a civil war,” Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma said on Sunday in front of television cameras, calling those present at the gathering “the dregs of society” and suggesting the need for army intervention.
A COVID-19 testing center was also set on fire on Saturday evening in the northern village of Urk as the government-imposed national curfew came into effect, local authorities said.
“The fire in a screening center in Urk goes beyond all limits,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said on Sunday.
The Netherlands began its first curfew since World War II on Saturday. It is forbidden to leave your home between 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m., at least until February 9.
Any offender incurs a fine of 95 euros.
Certain exemptions are possible, in particular for people returning from funerals or those having to work during the curfew, on condition that they present a certificate of displacement.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday that the decision to institute a curfew had been bolstered by the spread of the British variant of the coronavirus.
According to Mr. Rutte, the curfew must avoid confinement, while since the start of the health crisis, the Dutch had never had to justify their movements.
In addition to having raised the opposition of certain deputies, including the leader of the extreme right Geert Wilders, the curfew arouses the anger of part of the population.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7116