Dutch Police Shoot During COVID Protests; Several Injured

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The Dutch port city of Rotterdam turned into a war zone Friday with police firing warning shots, injuring several people, following protests against coronavirus restrictions.

Demonstrators had rallied against government plans to restrict access to indoor venues to people with a “corona pass,” proving they were vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19.

Last week, the government reimposed a partial lockdown saying the Netherlands’ strictest measures since World War Two are needed to end a record number of coronavirus infections.

There were fears Friday of a repeat of clashes like those in January, when a curfew was imposed in the Netherlands and riots in several cities caused millions of euros in damage.

Police said Friday that “there are injuries in connection with the shots.”

Riot police also used a water cannon to drive hundreds of rioters from a central street in the port city.


Video from social media on Dutch broadcaster NOS appeared to show a person being shot in Rotterdam, but there was no immediate word on what happened.

Police added on social networking site Twitter that it was “still unclear how and by whom” the person was shot.

Late Friday night, police struggled to restore order in downtown Rotterdam where fireworks and stones were thrown at police and medical personnel, reporters witnesses.

Police said they detained dozens of rioters and expected to detain more.

They reported about seven people injured during the rioting, and authorities briefly closed its central railway station.


Despite the ongoing violence, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb announced police had “regained power” in the heart of the city.

Aboutaleb called the police action Friday “heroic” and condemned the attacks against police officers.

“Violence against officers affects me, but also the triangle” [of the mayor, police, and public prosecutor], the mayor stressed.

Photos in Dutch media showed at least one police car ablaze, and another with a bicycle smashed through the windshield.

Local media said gangs of soccer hooligans were involved in the rioting, but there was also mounting frustration among genuine protestors.

Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence. The center of our beautiful city has this evening transformed into a war zone,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen, but violence is never, never, the solution.”

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