Law enforcement arrested at least 21 people on Monday in the Netherlands during a fourth night of protests against health restrictions imposed in response to the resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic, said the Dutch police on Tuesday.
Incidents broke out in Zwolle, Groningen (north) and Roosendaal (south), but far from the clashes that occurred during the weekend in the big cities of Rotterdam or The Hague, which had been denounced as “pure violence” of the part of “idiots” by the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.
His government plans to take measures similar to containment if the epidemic does not slow down. In Zwolle, where the authorities feared further violence, a state of emergency had been declared and 13 people were arrested, local police said on Twitter. According to the RTL channel, the suspects were arrested for various crimes, possession of fireworks, disobedience towards the police or lack of an identity card.
In Roosendaal, eight people were arrested, including three for having started fires, according to the ANP news agency, and in Groningen, the police also intervened to suppress groups of young people, according to RTL. More than 150 people in total were arrested on the sidelines of protests sparked by the return of health restrictions on November 13. Bars, restaurants and essential stores like supermarkets must close at 8:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT) and non-essential stores at 6:00 p.m.
The health pass only for the vaccinated?
Citizens are called upon not to accommodate more than four people in their homes and to telework. Public demonstrations are suppressed and football matches played behind closed doors. And the government has also unveiled a bill to reserve the health pass only to those vaccinated and cured of Covid-19. With this controversial legislation, bars, restaurants and many public places could deny access to the unvaccinated.
Tensions had arisen as soon as the measures were announced on November 12. On Friday evening, the demonstration turned into a riot in Rotterdam, and police opened fire, leaving four injured. The next day, five police officers were injured in The Hague in clashes on Saturday evening with protesters, who threw stones, burned bicycles and fired fireworks.