- Rioting broke out late Friday night in downtown Rotterdam, centred on a protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
- According to authorities, 51 persons were arrested, roughly half of them being juveniles, on Saturday afternoon.
Rioting occurred in downtown Rotterdam late Friday night, centred on a protest over COVID-19 limitations. Police opened fire on protestors. The mayor of the Dutch city described it as “an orgy of violence.”
According to authorities, two rioters were hospitalised after being injured by gunfire, and investigations were underway to determine whether police shot them. However, the situation of the injured rioters was not revealed.
According to authorities, 51 persons were arrested, roughly half of them being juveniles, on Saturday afternoon. In addition, one police officer was hospitalised with a leg injury sustained during the rioting, another was treated by ambulance personnel, and “countless” more were treated for minor injuries.
In the initial hours of Saturday morning, Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb started reporters that “on several occasions the police felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves” as rioters ran rampant through the port city’s central shopping district, setting fires and throwing rocks and fireworks at officers.
“They shot at protestors, and people were hurt,” stated Aboutaleb. He didn’t have any information on the injuries. In addition, police fired warning shots.
Police plan to make further arrests after reviewing video footage from security cameras.
According to photos from the site, at least one police car was seen in flames, while another had a bicycle slammed through its glass.
After midnight, riot cops and a water cannon restored order.
It was one of the most violent outbreaks in the Netherlands since coronavirus limitations were implemented last year. After a curfew was imposed in January, rioters attacked police and set fire to the streets of Rotterdam.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus criticised the events.
“The rioting and excessive brutality towards police officers, riot police, and firefighters in Rotterdam last night are awful to witness,” he stated in a statement.
“Protesting is a valuable right in our culture, but what we witnessed last night was a criminal action. It has surely nothing to do with displaying, “He continued.
Police forces from throughout the country rushed to Rotterdam to bring the situation under control on Friday night. Soccer hooligan gangs, according to local media, were implicated in the unrest.
A social media video published on Dutch station NOS looked to show one person getting shot in Rotterdam, but there was no quick news on what occurred.
In a tweet, police stated that it was “still unknown how and by whom” that person was reportedly shot.
As is customary when Dutch cops use their guns, an impartial investigation into the shootings was launched.
The government has stated that it intends to introduce legislation that would allow businesses to limit access to the country’s coronavirus pass system to only those who have been completely vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, excluding those who test negative.
Infections in the country have reached all-time highs recently, prompting the government to impose a new partial lockdown a week ago.
In a tweet, the local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence.
“The heart of our beautiful city has been converted into a combat zone this evening,” it stated. “In Rotterdam, you can disagree with what happens, but violence is never, ever the solution.”
Source: Global News
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