The mayor of Rotterdam has defended city police after police opened fire on protesters during riots during a protest rally to prevent the spread of Covid-19, injuring at least seven people.
More than 20 people were arrested Friday night as protests hurled stones at police and set fire to a Dutch city to express their dissatisfaction with new methods that could reduce access to the area, including restaurants and shops of those who have not been cut, and are expected to stay indoors. place for at least three weeks.
Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, condemned the protesters to “violent extremism” and acknowledged the use of force to end the crisis.
“Police were forced to shoot their weapons and even shoot directly,” Aboutaleb told reporters, adding that other police officers were injured and that more people were expected to be arrested after security investigations.
Ferd Grapperhaus, minister of justice in the Netherlands, described the “terrible violence” inflicted on the police and by firefighters in the port city.
“The right to protest is very important in our community but what we saw last night was just criminal,” he added.
Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. “The fire was set on several places. Firefighters were on fire and police fired several shots ”.
Local officials say police from around the Netherlands were dispatched to Rotterdam to restore order as they issued an emergency announcement barring people from rallies.
Following the violence in Rotterdam, organizers of a series of demonstrations in Amsterdam on Saturday said they had canceled the event. But other protests in the southern city of Breda against the spread of the virus, which included 8pm closures of bars, restaurants and clubs, had to continue.
This was not the first time there had been violence in the Netherlands under the coronavirus ban. In January riots and police clashed in the streets of Rotterdam after a house-to-house law went into effect.
Many European countries are also revoking heavy sanctions, in order to curb the spread of coronaviruses as they continue to threaten further health outbreaks despite a vaccine campaign.
Thousands of people rallied in Vienna after the Austrian government announced the complete closure of the vaccine law. Germany ordered the closure but Jens Spahn, the health minister, spoke of “an emergency that needs international effort”.