Rotterdam: Riot police swarm streets as fireworks set off
Officers have been stationed in the streets of Holland and other Dutch towns and cities to prevent more violence should protests go on for a fourth night. On Monday, a total of 184 people were arrested after the third night of unrest and more than 1,700 fines for breaking the 9pm to 4:30am curfew were issued.
On Monday, fires were lit on the streets of The Hague as crowds threw bottles at police officers.
A woman living near Den Bosch train station told Dutch radio masked youths devastated the city centre.
She said: “I saw windows smashed and fireworks going off. Really crazy, just like a war zone.”
Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma also told reporters on Sunday night the rioters were “the scum of the earth”.
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In Rotterdam, officers arrested 17 people for minor offences before the nightly curfew came into effect yesterday.
Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb issued a scathing video message on Twitter, which asked: “Does it feel good to wake up with a bag full of stolen stuff next to you?”
Dutch Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus also stated rioters would be sent to court quickly and could face prison sentences.
He said to reporters: “They won’t get away with it. If you rob people who are struggling, with the help of the government, to keep their head above water, it’s totally scandalous.”
National Police chief Willem Woelders said small crowds gathered in Rotterdam on Tuesday night, but were broken up without incident.
Wopke Hoekstra, Finance Minister, spoke to Dutch media outlets blasting the anti-lockdown rioters.
He said: “You don’t capitulate to people who smash shop windows.”
The minister added he did not consider the rioters genuine protesters, and said “scum does this”.
Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte added on Twitter the “criminal violence has to stop”.
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Police unions also branded the riots the worst the country has seen in four decades.
Dutch police chief Henk van Essen condemned the violence, saying “it has nothing to do any longer with the right to demonstrate”.
Police union board member Koen Simmers said on television programme Nieuwsuur: “We haven’t seen so much violence in 40 years.”
North Holland regional Police Chief Anja Schouten added: “I join others in appealing to parents to keep their children at home. Certainly after 2100, stay indoors.”
The riots broke out on Saturday after Dutch authorities announced the curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus.
A coronavirus testing centre in a fishing village was burnt down by rioters on Saturday night.
Yesterday the Netherlands recorded a further 4,129 cases and 40 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
In total the Netherlands has seen 952,950 cases and 13,579 deaths according to the World Health Organisation.
The National Institute for Health in the Netherlands said while cases are down in the country from last week, a variant of coronavirus first reported in the UK has been detected.
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