AFP /The Hague
The Dutch government will not back down on its coronavirus curfew despite three nights of rioting by “scum”, ministers said yesterday after the worst unrest to hit the Netherlands for four decades.
Dutch police arrested a further 184 people overnight, taking past 400 the number detained after the Netherlands imposed its first nationwide curfew since World War II.
At least 10 police officers were also injured in the latest clashes on Monday night, which left a trail of looted shops and burned cars in cities including Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Den Bosch.
Several cities granted police extra powers amid reports that fresh protests were being organised on social media overnight against the 9pm-4.30am curfew.
“You don’t capitulate to people who smash shop windows,” Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra told ANP national news agency.
“Scum does this” and not genuine protesters, he added.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus also said the government would keep the curfew in place.
It is meant to last until at least until February 9 in what the government says is a vital step to bring down Covid-19 cases.
The Covid-19 respiratory disease is caused by the coronavirus.
Police unions called it the worst rioting in four decades, referring to clashes with squatters in the 1980s as they were evicted from illegally-occupied buildings.
Dutch police chief Henk van Essen condemned the violence, saying that “it has nothing to do any longer with the right to demonstrate”.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter that “criminal violence has to stop”.
The government announced the curfew last week and it was supported by a majority of MPs.
Exemptions are allowed, for example for people having to work, attend funerals or walk their dogs, on condition that they present a certificate.
The protests began on a small scale on Saturday night, with a single riot in the northern village of Urk in the conservative protestant “Bible Belt”.
But on Sunday they spread, with police using water cannon, tear gas and horses against rioters in the southern city of Eindhoven and in Amsterdam.
Police used water cannon again in Rotterdam on Monday night.
As the clean-up operation started, mayors of several cities reacted with anger.
Rotterdam’s Ahmed Aboutaleb called rioters “shameless thieves”, the NOS national broadcaster reported.
“Does it feel good to wake up this morning with a suitcase full of stolen goods next to you?” he asked rioters in an online message.
More than 13,600 people have died in the Netherlands since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
From suicidal thoughts to racism: Harry, Meghan unload on royals
Meghan accuses UK royals of racism, says 'didn't want to be alive'
Switzerland outlaws facial covering
French billionaire politician killed in helicopter crash
Queen praises 'dedication to duty' before Harry and Meghan interview
UK faces difficult post-Brexit era under Boris: Ex-French envoy
Six killed in Ukrainian bus accident in Poland
New Zealand to end virus lockdown on largest city
During tough times, dogs save the Queen: report