Covid: Police and protesters clash during Dutch curfew demo

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https://www.bbc.com-image copyright EPA

image captionProtesters threw fireworks, looted supermarkets and smashed shop windows

Riot police in the Netherlands have clashed with protesters angry at new coronavirus restrictions.

Officers used water cannon and tear gas to clear demonstrators in Eindhoven. They had gathered in defiance of a new 21:00 (20:00 GMT) curfew.

Some protesters threw fireworks, looted supermarkets and smashed shop windows. There were smaller demonstrations in the capital, Amsterdam.

More than 100 people have been arrested.

Some of the demonstrators threw fireworks and grabbed bicycles to build barricades against the police, who eventually used tear gas to clear the streets, the BBC’s Anna Holligan reports from the Netherlands.

A Covid-19 testing centre was also set on alight on Saturday evening in the northern village of Urk, local authorities said.

“The fire in a screening centre in Urk goes beyond all limits,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said.

The 21:00 to 04:30 curfew, enforced on Saturday, is the first in the Netherlands since World War II. Violators face a €95 (£84) fine.

The curfew was passed in parliament on Thursday, albeit with a slightly later start time than the proposed 20:30.

National Security Council Chairman Hubert Bruls said he understood peoples frustrations, but added: “If we persevere now, we will get our freedoms back sooner.”

The country’s bars and restaurants have been shut since October, while schools and non-essential shops closed last month.

A ban on flights from the UK, South Africa and South America has been put in place due to fears over new variants of the virus.

There have been more than 944,000 cases and 13,646 confirmed deaths from Covid-19 in the Netherlands.

 

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