Crowds of rioters in the port city of Rotterdam set fire to cars and threw stones at police, who responded with gunfire and a water cannon to protest COVID-19 the measures were violent on Friday night.
“We fired warning shots, and there were also direct fire shots because the situation was life-threatening,” police spokesman Patricia Wessels told Reuters. “We know that at least two people were injured, probably as a result of warning shots, but we need to further clarify the exact reasons,” she said.
Some people on social media circulated images of the person they said was shot by the police, but the police said that although they saw the footage, they did not yet know how the person was injured.
Several hundred people gathered to express opposition to the government’s plans to restrict access to enclosed spaces for people with a “crown pass”, indicating that they have been vaccinated or have already recovered from the infection.
The pass is also available for people who have not been vaccinated but test negative.
Police issued an emergency order in Rotterdam, blocking public transport and ordering people to return home. Water cannons were used, police said, and police dispersed the crowd on horseback. Authorities also called on passers-by and people who recorded the riot footage to send footage to police for further investigation.
The Netherlands reintroduced some isolation measures for the first three weeks last weekend to slow the resurgence coronavirus infections, but the number of daily infections remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.
The video posted on social media showed burned-out police cars and rioters throwing fireworks and stones at police.