AMSTERDAM – Dutch police detained more than 150 people on the third night of unrest in the Netherlands, where groups of rioters opened fire, stopped violence and closed stores that incited violence.
The country’s first curfew since World War II was imposed by the National Institutes for Health (RIVM), after warnings over a new wave of infection caused by the “British version” of the virus, and weeks of declining new infections.
Dutch news agency ANP said on Tuesday that ten police were injured in the port city of Rotterdam, where 60 miscreants were kept in custody overnight.
Broadcaster NH Nieuws said two photographers were hurt after being targeted by a rock-throwing gang, one in the capital, Amsterdam, and another in the nearby city of Harlem.
East of the capital, at least nine people were caught after a clash with riot police. Witnesses said the windows of the store were ransacked and an angry group attacked the police van.
The unrest in the towns and cities of the Netherlands initially ran out of calls to protest against the country’s tough lockdown, but was turned into vandalism by the crowd due to messages circulating on social media.
Schools and non-essential shops have been closed since mid-December since the bar and restaurant were closed two months ago.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing the same things as last night,” Police Chief Willem Wolders told Dutch Current Affairs Nyivsur. He said around 70 rioters were arrested and police used tear gas in the western city of Harlem as well as in Rotterdam.
Rotterdam Police said the youth are demanding “a confrontation with police” on the streets. Riot officials attempted to break up the violence and made several arrests before running tear gas. Police warned people to stay away from the area. National broadcaster NOS showed video of the police using a water canon and reported that some shops were looted.
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Police in the southern city of Den Bosch said a shop was looted there and riot police were attempting to restore order.
As of late Monday night, police in Rotterdam were left smashing glass on the road next to a barbaric bus stop. The force tweeted that “the calm is slowly returning, but the atmosphere is still grim.”
In the southern city of Jalen, police tweeted that youth were throwing fireworks in the low-lying area of the city. In The Hague, riot police were imposed on protesters.
Dutch media reported calls for further violent protests on social media as the country struggles for new coronovirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Police in the southern city of Goz and North Holland province said they detained people suspected of using social media to riot.
“This is unacceptable,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Monday before the riot on Sunday. “It has nothing to do with opposing, this is criminal violence and this is what we will treat.”
The worst was on Sunday in the southern city of Eindhoven, where police clashed with hundreds of rioters who set fire to a car, threw stones and fireworks at officers, smashed windows and looted a supermarket at its railway station.
“My city is crying, and so am I,” Eindhoven’s mayor John Joritsma told reporters at an emotional sensory news conference on Sunday night. He called the rioters “the scum of the earth” and “I fear that if we continue down this path, we are on the path of civil war.”
Amsterdam police arrested 190 people in a restricted demonstration on Sunday amid rioting.
The death toll in the Netherlands is 13,579, with 952,950 infections to date.