The Hague, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- Dutch police arrested scores of people as of early Tuesday as violent anti-lockdown protests erupted into clashes with police for a third consecutive night.
Willem Woelders, chief of police, said 184 protesters had been detained across the country, but that the number was set to rise given that violent clashes in s-Hertogenbosch and Rotterdam carried on until the early morning.
In s-Hertogenbosch, protests began at 9 pm local time to coincide with a new nighttime curfew introduced by the Dutch government, a rare state intervention by a proudly libertarian executive and the only restriction on movement since the pandemic began.
Dozens of people used social media to encourage the use of fireworks against the police. Before the security forces were able to intervene, other demonstrators looted a supermarket, an electronics store and set several cars ablaze.
Jack Mikkers, the mayor of s-Hertogenbosch, said: “What happened tonight is unheard of. These people do not at all realize the fear, worry, hurt and shame they inflict on the residents of the city. A lot of criminals ruin everything for many other people. Many of us do not understand anything about this behavior.”
The mayor added that riot police were delayed in arriving at the scene of the protest, which gave some demonstrators time to “leave a trail of unimaginable destruction.”
Police have said they did everything possible to stop the demonstrators in s-Hertogenbosch and that they had opened an investigation to find those responsible.
In an area of southern Rotterdam, a group of around 200 protesters engaged in clashes with police, launching stones and fireworks before embarking on a tirade of looting and vandalism.
Police used water cannons to disperse the group.
The Netherlands weathered the first European wave of Covid-19 relatively well compared to its counterparts like Spain and Italy but has been hit hard by the second and third waves of the virus. EFE-EPA