The Netherlands riot over curfews

After the national lockdown over the Christmas period proved to be unsuccessful, changes had to be made to the Netherlands’ tackling of the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the new restrictions?

Bars, restaurants, and non-essential shops must remain shut. The “stay at home” message is reinforced across the Netherlands, and a curfew has been implemented between 9 pm and 4:30 am. These restrictions will last until at least the 9th of February.

Disapproval of Restrictions

Understandably, people are discontent with the restrictions. This has been seen most in the teenage population, which has taken to social media in the last few days to organize displays of civil unrest and riots.

We’ve seen cars toppled, motorbikes burned and shops looted.

Rotterdam shops have been smashed with rocks and other projectiles. | Source: Getty Images

What were the reactions to the riots?

Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam denounced the civil unrest and issued emergency powers to police services, broadening their power of arrest.

Acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte also condemned the rioting, saying it “has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that’s how we’ll treat it.” Rutte’s government has continued to act in a caretaking capacity after its resignation last week.

Mayor Jorritsma of Eindhoven even voiced fears of a “civil war.”

The Mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls, has reinforced his disapproval of the rioting but also stated: “you should be very reluctant to limit the right to demonstrate.”

Water cannons used to disperse protestors in Amsterdam. | Image: Associated Press

What’s next?

The restrictions will stay in place in their current form.

It is also expected that police presence in many cities will be increased in order to detain rioters and prevent further vandalism and looting.

The Netherlands is now seeing a gradual decrease in the daily infection rate, although there are fears that the UK strain may cause a further increase. Over 13,500 deaths have been recorded since last March.

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