COVID-19: Second night of violence in the Netherlands as rioters clash with police over new rules

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COVID-19: Second night of violence in the Netherlands as rioters clash with police over new rules


Seven people have been arrested after rioters clashed with police in The Hague over a second night of violence in the Netherlands, sparked by protests against new COVID-19 restrictions.

The unrest came a day after police opened fire on protesters in Rotterdam amid what the mayor of the port city called ” an orgy of violence ”, leaving three people seriously injured after being hit by bullets. Police said investigations were underway to determine whether the shots were fired by officers.

In The Hague on Saturday evening, young people lit fires in the streets and launched fireworks at officers.

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Clashes in Rotterdam on Friday night over COVID rules

Police said in a tweet that seven people were arrested and five officers injured, while one needed treatment in a hospital following the clashes.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, two football matches in the top professional league had to be briefly interrupted after supporters – banned from matches under a partial lockdown in the country for a week – broke into stadiums from the towns of Alkmaar and Almelo.

There was a heavy police presence in several other major cities after social media riot calls followed clashes in Rotterdam, but any further violence has been largely contained, Dutch media reported.

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Thousands of people protest against new containment in Austria

Demonstrations took place in the streets of several European cities this weekend, to protest against the new containment measures.

Tens of thousands of people have expressed their anger in the Austrian capital after the government announced a nationwide lockdown and said coronavirus vaccinations to become mandatory by law next year, attributing the country’s high number of infections to those who haven’t taken the jab.

The nationwide lockdown will begin on Monday and will initially last 10 days, before being reassessed, and will last for a maximum of 20 days.

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Protesters light flares during a protest against COVID lockdown measures in Vienna, Austria. Photo: AP
A protester holds a banner during a demonstration in Brussels
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Protester holds banner during demonstration in Brussels

Most stores will close and cultural events will be canceled. People will only be able to leave their homes for certain reasons, such as shopping, going to the doctor, or exercising.

Austria’s infection rate is among the highest on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 971.5 per 100,000 people – and daily cases continue to set records.

About 65% of the Austrian population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in Western Europe. In the UK it is around 68%.

Demonstration against COVID-19 measures in Amsterdam
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There was also a protest against COVID-19 measures in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Police officers stand guard as protesters gather in Austrian capital
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Police officers stand guard as protesters gather in Austrian capital

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg apologized to all those vaccinated, saying it was not fair that they had to suffer from the new lockdown restrictions when they had done everything to help contain the virus.

“I’m sorry for taking this drastic step,” he told public broadcaster ORF.

While Austria is so far the only one in the EU to make vaccinations compulsory, more and more governments are cracking down.

As of Monday, Slovakia, where only 45.3% of 5.5 million people are fully vaccinated, is banning people who have not come from all non-essential stores and malls.

They also won’t be allowed to attend public events or gatherings and will have to take tests twice a week just to get to work.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “It is really, absolutely time to act”.

A man is detained in Vienna
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A protester is arrested by police in Vienna
A protester facing riot police in Brussels
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A protester facing riot police in Brussels
People gather at Bois de la Cambre / Ter Kamerenbos park in defiance of European coronavirus social distancing measures and restrictions in Brussels
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People gather at Bois de la Cambre / Ter Kamerenbos park in defiance of European coronavirus social distancing measures and restrictions in Brussels

With a vaccination rate of 67.5%, his country is now considering compulsory vaccinations for many health professionals.

Greece is also targeting the unvaccinated. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced new restrictions on non-shocks, including preventing them from entering places such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums and gymnasiums, even if they have tested negative.

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Protests against coronavirus restrictions also took place in Switzerland, Croatia and Italy.

And in central Hull, around 200 anti-vaccines marched through the streets, demanding that caregivers caring for the elderly and vulnerable not be forced to receive the vaccine.

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