Dutch PM lashes out at ‘idiots’ after third night of violence during Covid protests

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The Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, has rebuked the “stupid” rioters who wreaked havoc in Dutch cities last weekend in protest against the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

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After more than 100 people were arrested for their role in the riots, Mr Root told reporters on Monday, “It was pure violence disguised as a protest.”

“There is a lot of unrest in the society as we have been battling the misery of Corona for so long. But I will not accept fools who use pure violence simply because they are unhappy.”

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An anti-lockdown demonstration turned violent in Rotterdam on Friday evening. Protesters took to the city’s central shopping district to protest the government’s coronavirus restrictions, which included a proposal to bar unvaccinated people in many public places.

Photo and video footage of the protests showed a police car set on fire, and another containing a bicycle smashed through its windscreen. Police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse the riot, and also opened fire in hopes of clearing the crowd.

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Four people were shot and others, including police officers, were injured in the violence. Over 50 people, including at least six minors, have been arrested in connection with the riots. The authorities have also started an investigation into the firing by the police.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutleb described the unrest as “an orgy of violence”.

Protesters took to the streets of Amsterdam and Breda on Saturday to continue their protest against the government’s COVID restrictions. While thousands took part in these protests, they were closely monitored by the police and remained peaceful.

Yesterday, however, demonstrations turned violent once again when black-clad groups pelted stones at police in The Hague and set fires across the city. In one instance, a rock was thrown through the windshield of an ambulance that was trying to take a patient to a hospital. Police said around 30 people have been arrested.

A week ago, the Netherlands reimposed restrictions that required all bars, restaurants and essential shops to close at 8 p.m. in an effort to contain the country’s rising COVID cases.

Despite these efforts, daily cases continue to rise and on Monday Dutch health officials reported more than 23,000 new infections in the past 24 hours – the second highest figure reported since the start of the pandemic.

As a result of climbing cases and the need to care for those seriously ill with the virus, Dutch hospitals have been forced to reduce their routine treatments.

The Dutch Association of Healthcare Workers (V&VN) has warned that the country is headed for a worst-case scenario in which hospitals will not have enough intensive care capacity for all patients who need beds. Official figures from last month showed that about 70 percent of people in intensive care were not vaccinated or were only partially vaccinated.

While Health Minister Hugo de Jong has insisted that the Netherlands is “far away” from this scenario, the government has not ruled out imposing further restrictions if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Last week, the government proposed a plan that would restrict access to many places for unvaccinated people.

Under the current rules, people who are fully vaccinated, people who have recovered from COVID, and people who are unvaccinated but have recently tested negative for the virus can receive a “corona pass”. which provides access to indoor public spaces. However, the government’s proposal will not allow unvaccinated people to obtain passes.

There is currently no time limit for the implementation of such a plan, as it faced strong opposition from the Parliament and the public.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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