Dutch Police Target Crowds Protesting Corona Restrictions
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
AMSTERDAM (Worthy News) – Outnumbered Dutch police used batons as they tried to halt thousands of people rallying in Amsterdam against Europe’s strictest Coronavirus measures.
The riots in which several people were injured erupted as at least some 10,000 people were at Amsterdam’s large Museum Square, violating a ban on massive protests, said a spokesperson of Mayor Femke Halsema.
Participants moved to the Westerpark but later returned, with demonstrators maneuvering around police. Groups of protestors were also seen near the famed Van Gogh Museum.
While walking along a main thoroughfare in the capital city, demonstrators played music and held yellow umbrellas in a sign of opposition to the government restrictions.
Police tried to end the protest with several using batons directly hitting protestors, according to footage obtained by Worthy News.
One person was injured in the head, presumably by a stone. At least two other men were reportedly slightly injured in clashes with the police.
Photos and video footage uploaded online also showed what appeared to be police releasing dogs on anti-mandate protesters.
Police also deployed water cannons, footage showed, while other videos appeared to show alleged Dutch Army veterans clashing with police.
Some die-hard participants continued despite the clashes holding a banner that said: “Less repression, more care.
Another group in white masks and white overalls held up signs, reading: “It’s not about a virus, it’s about control.” It referenced the controversial coronavirus pass proving COVID vaccination or recovery that the government wants to make obligatory public venues. Another held a “Trump 2024 flag.”
Amid the turmoil, the protest supporting populist Forum for Democracy (FvD) party said, “anti-fascists committed an attack on the party office in Amsterdam.” The party said it would report the paint bomb attack to the police.
A video captured by a party security camera shows a group of protesters dressed in black passing by the property. “Not then, not now, never not fascism,” said a banner carried by protestors.
The FvD party came under pressure over anti-Semitic remarks made by members of its youth wing and comparing COVID vaccination policies to the suffering of Jews during World War Two.
The Netherlands began the New Year with a continuation of a lockdown that saw the closure of all hospitality venues such as bars, restaurants, and theaters. All non-essential shops are closed, “except for click and collect and returns,” authorities said.
Additionally, people were not allowed to ring in the New Year or celebrate Christmas abundantly. “Everyone should stay at home as much as possible and avoid busy places.
Always stay 1.5 meters (4 feet) apart. Receive no more than two visitors aged 13 and over per day,” the government warned.
Authorities were slightly more forthcoming on “24, 25 and 26 December and on 31 December and 1 January” when “the maximum number of visitors aged 13 and over is 4 per day.”
“Visit no more than one household a day,” the government hastened to add.
The measures led to an uncomfortable situation for the many elderly passengers aboard a cruise ship on December 27. “We traveled from [the Dutch port city] Rotterdam to Germany. But on the way back, we were suddenly told we had to disembark at a port near the Dutch border,” said passenger Aafje van Kampen, the mother of a Worthy News reporter.
“It was painful to see how a man who could barely walk had to be pushed into one of the waiting buses,” Van Kampen added. “These elderly people had hoped to have a relaxing holiday cruise. But those hopes were smashed.”
The government of acting Prime Minister Mark Rutte claims the measures are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 after discovering the Omicron variant.
Critics have questioned the policies saying the government had promised an open society if at least 70 percent was vaccinated against COVID-19.
About 70 percent of the Netherlands’ 17.3 million people are fully vaccinated, according to official estimates.
“The government constantly expands the measures without giving a clear timetable. I see with my children what that does to them,” said the visibly emotionally prominent Christian Democratic politician Mona Keijzer.
Keijzer, a married mother-of-five, was sacked as state secretary of economic affairs in September after criticizing the government’s corona admissions pass.
She suggested that the policies ruin the dreams of youngsters whose studies and work plans suffer from what she views as horrific policies. “One of my sons wants so much to work in the hospitality industry. At age four, he was already baking an egg. It’s in his blood. To see his hopes shattered is very sad.”
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