Dutch police arrest 7 amid unrest in The Hague

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Police arrested seven rioters in The Hague Saturday night after young men set fire to the streets and threw fireworks at officers. The riots began the day after police opened fire on protesters in Rotterdam against the backdrop of what the mayor of the port city called an “orgy of violence” that erupted during a protest against coronavirus restrictions.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, two major professional league football matches had to be temporarily suspended after fans barred from playing due to a weekly partial lockdown in the Netherlands stormed stadiums in the cities of Alkmaar and Almelo.

Earlier on Saturday, there were two protests against COVID-19 The measures took place peacefully in Amsterdam and the southern city of Breda.

Police tweeted that seven people were arrested in The Hague and five officers were injured. One required hospital treatment.

Local media outlet Regio 15 reported rioters threw bicycles, wooden pallets and scooters into one of the fires.

The riots in The Hague were on a smaller scale than the fierce fighting in the streets of Rotterdam on Friday night, when police said three rioters were wounded by bullets and an investigation is under way to determine if they were shot by police. Earlier, the police said that two people were injured. The condition of the injured rioters was not disclosed.

Officers in Rotterdam arrested 51 people, about half of them minors, police said Saturday afternoon. One police officer was hospitalized with a leg injury sustained during the riots, another was treated by ambulances, and “countless” others received minor injuries.

Mayor Ahmed Abbalab told reporters early Saturday that “on a number of occasions, police felt the need to pull out weapons to protect themselves,” as rioters raged in the port city’s central shopping district, setting fire and throwing stones and fireworks. from the officers.

“They shot at the protesters, people were injured,” Abtaleb said. He did not provide details of the injuries. The police also fired warning shots.

Police watching surveillance footage are awaiting further arrests.

Photos from the scene show at least one police car on fire and another with a bicycle crashing into the windshield.

After midnight, riot police and a water cannon restored calm.

It was one of the most serious outbreaks of violence in the Netherlands since the coronavirus restrictions were first introduced last year. In January, rioters also attacked police and set fire to the streets of Rotterdam after a curfew went into effect.

Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus condemned the incident.

“The riots and extreme violence against police, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are disgusting,” he said in a statement.

“Protest is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is just criminal behavior. This has nothing to do with the demonstration, ”he added.

This image, taken from a video, shows demonstrators protesting government restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic on November 19, 2021 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. (Media TV Rotterdam via AP)

Police units from across the country rushed to Rotterdam to help take control of the situation on Friday night. According to Abaleb, gangs of football hooligans were involved in the riots.

A social media video broadcast by Dutch broadcaster NOS appeared to show one person being shot dead in Rotterdam, but there was no news of what happened.

Police tweeted that “it is still unclear how and by whom” the man was apparently shot.

An independent investigation was launched into the shooting by the police, as is the case whenever the Dutch police use their weapons.

The government said it wants to pass legislation that would allow businesses to restrict the country’s coronavirus pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19, which would exclude people who test negative.

In recent days, the country has recorded a record number of infections, and a week ago, a new partial isolation took effect.

Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.

“The center of our beautiful city has turned into a war zone tonight,” the message says. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with what is happening, but violence – never, never.”



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