By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Police fired water cannon, saying some of the crowd started throwing stones and fireworks at them. Footage also showed police surrounding demonstrators.
Last week thousands also demonstrated “for freedom” in this traditional liberal seafaring nation of more than 17-million people.
However, Rutte warned his country that despite protests, stricter measures were necessary. He spoke of at least three weeks of restrictions for shops, sport, and catering. Rutte said the “annoying, drastic move was responding to record infections and rising intensive care cases.”
The controversial announcement came amid growing pressure on unvaccinated people in the European Union. In Austria, the government announced a full lockdown for the unvaccinated starting Monday.
The government has blamed those refusing to take coronavirus jabs for adding to record infections across the country, despite critical experts disputing that allegation.
Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said earlier a national lockdown for the unvaccinated was “probably inevitable.” Two-thirds of people should not suffer because others were hesitant, he stressed.
And EU nation Denmark, which had downgraded coronavirus as no longer a “socially critical” disease, has re-instated a COVID pass that was phased out in September.
The government wants to push through a law allowing workplaces to require the pass showing proof of vaccination or immunization for staff.
Back in the Netherlands, Prime Minister Rutte said that fortunately, most people in the Netherlands had been vaccinated.
But in a controversial twist criticized by some opposition politicians, he said the three-week partial lockdown would start Saturday anyway.
He said that non-essential shops would have to shut at 18:00 local time and supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, and hotels at 20:00.
The professional and amateur sport would continue, but behind closed doors. That includes the Netherlands’ football World Cup qualifier against Norway this month.
The 18:00 closure also applies to casinos and saunas, as well as hairdressers and sex workers.
Additionally, a maximum of four guests aged over 13 will be allowed at people’s homes, and as many people should work from home as possible, he added.
Cinemas and theatres will Stay open. Social distancing of 1.5 meters (5 feet) is reintroduced where COVID passes are not in operation.
The caretaker cabinet is also working on a change in the law to allow businesses to choose whether they want to limit entry to people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered.
Several Christian legislators and other critics have expressed concern about the measures, with some comparing them even to past ‘apartheid’ or segregation measures in South Africa or policies seen during World War Two.
In the Netherlands, authorities have linked more than 18,600 deaths to COVID-19 on a population of nearly 17.4 million people.
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